As I’ve said here before, mathematics and I are not best friends. We aren’t even in the same building most of the time. It isn’t mathematics fault. I’m sure all those numbers and formulas and theories are just lovely. I just don’t understand their language nor do I understand their thought process.
Because of my allergy to math, from a relatively early age, certain school subjects were less than enjoyable and yet they keep coming back into my life. Yes, even though I’ve chosen a career and a path that is not in line with mathematics in the least, those pesky numbers keep coming back! (I’m not talking about paying the bills, doing a budget etc. as I expected those would always be around.)
I recently attended a seminar about why people make the same choices in life and expect different results. The speaker started off discussing his high school dream of becoming a professional athlete even though he lacked coordination and skill in anything sports related. So, he’d try out for every team that had try outs and inevitably he wouldn’t even make it through the first round of cuts and walk away more discouraged with himself and determined that next time he would make it.
He didn’t know how to alter himself in a way that would let sports come more easily to himself, but he pursued his desires as best he could. And then, in his senior year, he made a team. Not because his skill had changed, rather there wasn’t enough people to field the baseball team.
From his initial success of making a team (he ignored the fact that they simply couldn’t cut anyone) to the end of the season he was determined to impact his fellow players. And he did. Just not the way the thought. You see he was the team’s biggest cheerleader. He was involved from the bench. And this energy was rather contiguous to the rest of his team members.
The speaker went on to say that he had found a force which overcame his bad decisions. I lost interest when he took a deep breath and said that in physics force is the thing that has the power to move an object in a different direction or change its normal course and proceeded to discuss, well, physics.
Now the speaker’s athletic abilities did not change, nor did the reason for the team choosing him. What did change, for his teammates was that despite him being a liability when it came to making plays, he made up for it by encouraging them. And when you can tap into that kind of encouragement, well you can overcome the impossible. You can decide on something and still change the results simply by your approach and how you view things. (Gee maybe I did get something out of the lecture, even though like most folks I guess I was expecting a magic pill rather than what I already knew deep down inside.)
So, dear readers, I’ve decided to slowly get reacquainted with mathematics. I am going in knowing I don’t speak the same language and I don’t think in the way the numbers work, but I am going to give it all a try again. Because if people in their 80s can learn something new, I can certainly learn to be more accepting of mathematics. Or so I hope.