How do you levitate with pencils? (1:57)
The magic of math
Math doesn’t come naturally to all students. In fact, the ability to do it is a big part of being able to get good grades. It’s not like being able to shoot free throws or be a top athlete. The difference is that the average person does most of their math through books. They read them, they study them, and then they figure it all out on their own. This has created a highly effective educational system that’s been remarkably effective at inspiring American children to become the next Einstein or Newton or Hawking.
But we’re not just talking about reading books. We’re also talking in terms of practicing math, which means making math a part of everyday life, and making math a part of our personal lives.
If you’ve ever wanted to become an engineer, you can learn from how math can help you get there. It’s not only about the things that we find math so compelling—things like how hard it is to do multiplication, for examples but not the full article—but also about the way math can actually improve our lives, like giving us a leg up when it comes to getting into law school.
If you were to ask me what skills would make being a successful entrepreneur, engineer, or software engineer possible, I wouldn’t be able to do them without a solid grasp on how to do math on your own. But it’s not about learning the art, but learning how to do it on your own.
There’s a great essay on the importance of applying your own math skills. I recommend reading it, especially if you’re trying to build confidence at the same time you start talking to people about how cool you can be at building things. In the essay, Steve Blankman suggests you start with the foundation of how you think, what you know, and what you know how to do; then take that skill and apply it to a new problem.
If you can, even your first few lessons might be a good way to get started. Do some of the things Blankman suggests, you might be able to do them when you think of something new to learn. If you’re in charge of a startup, start by starting with the idea of getting clients. Take a look at what the customers like, ask them what they want, and see what happens.
If you don’t know how to do it, do it with friends, get someone to
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