Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Unusual mathematical studies have got me wondering. Stranger questions than this now have the benefit of a mathematical formula to explain them.
The probability of a biscuit collapsing after dunking in hot liquid is one example. Another memorable piece of work was the formula that explained why cold pizza still tastes good the next day (apparently it’s down to the cheese).
If you are a mathematician and you have worked on studies like these: first and foremost, I salute you; And second, now the big questions about biscuits and pizza have been answered, I’m interested in your thoughts on the following...
The question “Where do you want to be in 5 years time?” is linear so if my (very) limited formal maths training is correct, this suggests the possibility of a mathematical equation being drawn up.
This question is linear because you have two points, let's call them Point A and Point B. Point A is where you are now. Point B is where you want to be in 5 years time.
Point A is a known/knowable quantity (I appreciate that ‘knowable’ isn’t a maths term but stay with me a little longer maths geniuses!)
Point B is an unknown quantity but the potential to define it exists between the degree an individual understands their position at Point A and the relative difficulty their path from A-to-B represents (based on the Point B that the individual has defined).
For example: if you are at Point A as a student just leaving college with an arts based degree in humanities, and you decide that in five years time (i.e. at Point B) you’d like to be a celebrated rocket scientist, the relative difficulty of the path you have chosen will be high. Much higher than if you had chosen 'Geography Teacher' as your Point B instead.
An additional relationship exists between Point A and Point B that might also help the formula expand. It lies within the experience of individuals who have already reached Point B and how they compare to the individual attempting to move from Point A (to a Point B others have successfully reached).
The relative similarities/differences between the individual at Point A and the individuals already at their target Point B could also enable greater definition of the quotients that decide the relative difficulty of the individual’s five year progression from A-to-B. (Providing the framework for an individual to define both Point A and Point B is also possible but the extrapolation of this might be best left for a later time).
Mathematicians: this will of course be wrong to your trained eyes and minds but, nonetheless, here is a simple formula to get you started with the proving and disproving that you do so well:
A = where you are now
B = where you want to be in 5 years time
x = relative differences to individuals already at point B
n = relative difficulty of proposed route from A-to-B
With the age old biscuit and pizza questions answered by you for all time, maybe the moment has arrived for mathematics to tackle a new question.
I’m not one for throwing down the gauntlet, especially to mathematicians. But let’s pretend for a moment that a gauntlet has clattered to the floor. Are any of you willing to pick it up?
All the best for now,
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Seeing others cope while we struggle is discouraging but it can also be a false impression.
We just see the other person coping effortlessly. We tend to forget that they either had to learn how to cope, earn their ability to cope through hard-won experience or have it drummed into their heads by someone else so they would know what to do.
No one ploughs a straight furrow on their first go
[Photo courtesy of Joanna Young on Flickr]
Some people cope during difficult times because it's in their experience to do so.
Let's put these pesky, proficient other people to one side for a moment and look at difficulty from another point of view:
What difficult times do you make look easy?
What is second nature to you?
What has your experience taught you to cope with?
What’s been drummed into you?
As well as being personal to you, your answers show that there will be times where you’re the one coping. Times when you make things look easy. Situations that give others confidence in you. Settings suited to your experience.
We can find the same things difficult but what we find difficult also depends on our experience and our point of view.
When you are finding things difficult, look around and ask:
Who is making this look easy?
What experience is helping them to cope?
What can I learn from their behaviour?
What's the best way to ask that person for help?
Maybe questions like these will help you find a new point of view on difficult times.
All the best for now,