Life, like math can have frustration
As a child I despised math with every fiber of my being. As an adult, I still have great frustration with it. I have to confess, I really didn’t understand the purpose of it all. I mean, it was just to get the answers, right? That was the deal.
Then we got books that HAD the answers in the back. I didn’t quite get that curve ball. So NOW what is the point. Oh, it’s SHOW.YOUR.WORK. UUGGH! Isn’t it good enough to know that I just know the answer??
No. To fully understand both the problem, and the answer, one must show how they got the answer, and only then are they truly enlightened. Well F.U. Math and math teacher! I mean right?
But math holds so much more for us than we think. To learn, we must continually practice over and over and over. The problems also get bigger, and more complex. Sorry, but it’s true.
Below are the 16 points that math has also taught me about life. Think about them. I hope they speak to you as well.
17 Math lessons that are also life lessons
1. The answer is not the point. Understanding what the problem actually is, the steps you must take to get to the answer, and going through all that is.
2. Anyone who is just giving you answers is not really your ally. (SEE #1)
3. There is only so much time you can sit staring at a problem. At some point you have to take a different action.
4. Sometimes you have to let a problem be, skip it for now, and move on to the next one.
5. But you DO have to go back to the problem and work on it. If you keep skipping, they will build up and overwhelm you.
6. Going through one problem, understanding it, and solving it, often is the key, or the help you need to work through a different problem.
7. Some problems can’t be solved.
8. There can be many paths through similar problems, typically there is not just one way to solve them. (yes, us old people hate “common core”, it’s actually not so bad)
9. There may be an error in the problem itself, this is why it is so difficult (think miscommunication, expectations, or assumptions).
10. You can only handle so much math (so many problems) and then you need a break – TAKE ONE!
11. When you lose your mind and can’t figure it out, ask for help. That can be peers, colleagues, family, cohorts, but sometimes, you need a professional. (The internet is great, but it is NOT a substitute for a real human professional)
12. (See#2) – When getting help, just getting the answer does not help. You have to do the HARD, PAINFUL work in order to really understand. This is even tougher if you have done step #5 too many times.
13. Cheating will bite you in the ass down the road – even if you don’t get caught.
14. Some people appear to be REALLY good at math. Some actually are, some are not. And that does NOT mean that they can actually teach it. (some can, some can’t).
15. There are people who will purposely try to trick you with math. Not in a way that is challenging, but in a way that is hurtful. They might not think it is hurtful. They also may be professionals. Be wary of them.
16. You can eventually give up and stop doing math problems. Life does not work the same way.
17. From art, to music, to relationships, to spirituality, to family, home, work and play; EVERYTHING is math. No, really, everything is.
* Two side notes. This post was inspired by an FB post about religion. It is also inspired by one of my best friends in the whole world Brian Repko. He just happens to be an awesome Mathematician and Rad human as well! He GETS math (and life), AND he can teach it. He is the real deal, and he is also the very first person to tell you that he does not have all the answers.
Peace ~ RC