You’re Not Bad at Math

Okay, maybe you’re bad at math… BUT it’s only because you think are. Seriously, it’s scientifically proven.

Maybe you think you were born bad at math. You might think it’s genetic or that you’re more right brained than left brained. Since you’re good at art and English there’s no way you can be good at math, right?

Why Math?

Sure people complain about being a bad speller or reader or artist or athlete, but math is by far and large the most universal struggle. Why is that? Math takes a little more focus than most things. It takes a little more time to analyze a problem. Even math teachers, experts, and professors can’t just give you an answer by looking at a complicated problem. It takes time to dissect a problem and solve it. This could be one reason why we’re so apt to dismiss it as something we’re not good at. It takes concentration, and hard work. And we’re all lazy. Just kidding. But seriously.

The real problem is that you’re focusing more on your perceived innate abilities rather than working hard. Instead of taking the time to analyze something and really think about it, it’s easier to dismiss it and say “I just don’t get this and I never will.” All it takes to be good at math is a little practice and little hard work. Sounds cliche but it’s true! Look… here’s some proof.

Proof that you’re not bad at math

If you want to be an expert at anything, it’s possible. Yes, even math. Take it from Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers. He says that to be an expert at anything, all you have to do is practice it.

He says, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

Malcolm Gladwell — That’s why his hair is so big, it’s full of secrets.

He also says that to become an expert at anything you have to practice it for10,000 hours.

So all you have to do to get good at math is log onto MathCrunch for 10,000 hours! So easy!

Let’s take this notion of practice to the next level. This doesn’t just apply to math. If you practiced ANYTHING for 10,000 hours then you would be an expert at it. So, going big picture here — If we’re assuming you live to be about 100 years old, 100 years equals 876,581 hours. Divide that by 10,000. That comes out to about 87 different things in your lifetime that you could potentially be an expert at. (You might have to check my math on that one…)

Math is a good place to start though. Once you’ve mastered algebra, you’ll find that you have the confidence to conquer the world.

More Proof that you’re not bad at math

In an article in the Atlantic, Miles Kimball and Noah Smith, bring up some important facts about ability versus perception. They state that when people believe their math ability is unchangeable (they’re innately bad at math) this belief becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, if you think you’re bad at math you will be bad at math. If you think you can be good at math, you can be good at math. (With hard work and practice and MathCrunch, of course.) They also cite a study by psychologists Lisa Blackwell, Kali Trzesniewski, and Carol Dweck which presents two alternatives:

“1. You’re born with a certain amount of intelligence and you can’t do much to change it

2. You can greatly change how intelligent you are”

The study showed that students who believed that you can change how intelligent you are scored higher and got better grades than students who believed that intelligence is not malleable.

The real proof is in the pudding

Give it a shot, and tell us we’re wrong. Really apply yourself, put in the time, have the confidence, get the help you need with math. Prove to the world that math doesn’t have to be hard.

Conquer math. Conquer the world.

Divide THEN conquer

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