Can Algebra help us in everyday living?
I just want to share this story that I heard from the last seminar I attended at UP Diliman Campus last Saturday. The speaker is a Swedish named Farid Nolen. As I’ve said at my other blog that I think I have ADHD and sometimes getting my attention is really tough, I don’t know how this person managed to get my full attention from the start of his speech until the last word that he said. I cannot understand my seatmate at that time who slept the whole time, she missed a lot of valuable insights by the speaker.
I don’t have a great memory so I will just share with you some thoughts I learned from Mr. Nolen. He told us a story about when he was just in elementary, his teacher asked him to solve a math problem. The problem is so easy but he still failed to solve it, and he can’t even understand why it happened. When the teacher talked to him, he realized that the answer should have a color and since he is
somehow a color blinded person, he did not get the right answer. Then the teacher told him that maybe he is not a math person. Those words were etched in his mind, it then became his weapon or maybe his greatest fear. Every time he saw math problems he would stay away from it, because his mind tells him that it’s not his thing.
Years went by, he was able to go to different places and realized that he wanted to settle down and have the things that he always dreamed of, a car, a house and money in the bank. That is when he called his Dad and asked for his help to get a job. His dad told him to call his friend from one of the top leading cellphone brands in Sweden. He called that person and asked if there were any available jobs that he could offer for him. The other person said that they are a company who innovates, they think of ways to improve and redesign cell phones. With the thought that he will receive all his dreams when he will get on the company, he asked the other person for the requirements on how he will be included in the company. The person said that they only hire Mathematicians and/or Engineers. When Mr. Nolen heard it, it’s as if his dreams was suddenly crushed. His whole life he has avoided Math and now, that is his only way to get a good job.
We both have the same thought when he asked himself “How will Algebra or any math problems will be related on everyday living?” Like for example a Doctor, will he write on the prescription a formula like a+(b+C)= ab+ac ??? for sure the doctor will loose all of his customers if he will do this.
Although I am not that bad in my Math subject, I am not that good also and I once thought before about how will Math be used in everyday living (especially algebra, trigonometry etc) . I may consider basic math (add, sum, multiply and divide) but algebra??? do we really need it? But the person that Mr. Nolen is talking to said that people that are good in Math are trainable and can think of new ideas since they are always looking for answers.
Now back to the story, Mr. Nolen really wanted to have the job at this company that is why he got all his courage and tried to take the seminar/training provided by the company. At first, he really didn’t understand all the lectures but he kept on trying and he never gave up until he was surprised that the day came when he has solved the most difficult math problem he has ever encountered.
That is when he remembered the words his teacher told him when he was young that “he is not a math person”. He jokingly told us that maybe his teacher at that time should not be a teacher since how dare she told him that HE CAN’T do something when HE CAN actually do it and that he just needed to be trained and motivated.
To make the long story short, he was being judged at his current capacity that time. Failures in life is our training to find new innovation and look for possible ways to come up with a solution. So, now I am not surprised that some of my classmates before who I thought never listens and are very rude and foolish during class are the ones who have a decent job, a nice car and have a complete family. These people learned to survive and excel through the failures they encountered in their life. Also, I learned here that what we thought became what we are.
So two things I learned from the lecture:
1. Do not judge someone through his current capacity, this person just need to be push to his limit. You will not GROW if you are afraid of FAILURE, because through failure you will find new innovation.
2. Control your mind, think positive and that will help you become what you always wanted.
Hope you too learned something here.
what ever happens in life we should always remember to live life to the fullest