Everyday Living

What Has Life Got In Common With Mathematics?



My maths teacher was one of those people I disliked so much that I wouldn’t have pissed in his ear to help put out a fire in his brain.  It was probably this dislike for him that birthed my dislike and fear for maths, or was it something else?

I am not even sure, but what I am sure of is that i had this fear till my teenage years, but my “moment of deliverance” came one day when I successfully solved a maths problem by applying a formula I had been taught. From then on, the “fear of maths” began to recede until it eventually left , so much so that I began to prefer mathematics to other subjects.

It is  objective; just one answer is right. All you need to do is state the required formula, replace the variables in the formula with the corresponding figures stating succinctly every step taken towards arriving at the final answer and pa-daw!! You are on your way to a hundred percent!!

I find that there are many similarities between mathematics and life; the first being that in maths, some formulas require a longer procedure while some are “sharp-sharp” i.e. shorten the procedure/steps to arriving at the final correct answer. Also in life they say, some take the lift while others take the ladder, some are already billionaires at the age of nine, others may not get there till they are 90 years.

Another similarity which I find rather interesting is that in maths, each step taken must be stated succinctly and worked out properly and this requires patience, time and hard work (or better still “smart work.”) The same way that each stage of life requires patience, time and “smart work”. Speaking of patience, it is one virtue many of us covert and work hard at imbibing. Considering the dizzying pace of life in a city, some of us fall into the trap of expecting everything else in life to go at that pace but the reverse may be the case. In fact bureaucracy, red-tapism, corruption and the state of the economy has even further slowed down the pace of the actualization of our dreams.

Also, just as the law of prerequisites apply in maths; you loose marks for skipping a step (even though your final answer is correct), so does it apply in life; you crawl before you walk and walk before you run.

In maths, the final answer is just as important as the steps taken to arrive at it, also in life, the end is also just as important as the means, it does not in any way justify the means.

Remember those times when you submitted your script sure as eggs are eggs that you will score 105% only to find out that you scored only 7% because you applied the wrong formula and got the wrong answers even though you worked hard at neatly stating the steps and doing your best (so to say). It can also be like that in life when we work so hard at “doing the right thing” without first finding out “the right things to do”. The later must precede the former so that we don’t find out half way through life that though we have been running a hundred miles an hour, we have been running in the wrong direction or that though we have made it to the top of the ladder, the ladder had been leaning on the wrong wall.

Basically, doing things right is just as important as doing the right things!!!


Photo Credit – www.iwpr.org

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