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Aug. 30, 2021

CPC Episode #34 - When Will I Ever Use Math in the Real World?

Get the real answer to the most asked question for any student or parent who's ever taken math. Discover things like: The one thing math class gives you which will change your life Which jobs which pay over 150,000, if you have the right...

Get the real answer to the most asked question for any student or parent who's ever taken math. Discover things like:

  • The one thing math class gives you which will change your life
  • Which jobs which pay over 150,000, if you have the right math skills
  • Why anxiety and pressure from math class give you an unfair advantage in the real world

In 20 years of math tutoring, and helping students...and parents with math and college prep, there’s one question I hear more than anything else…

And it’s the title of our episode 34 this week: When Will I EVER Use math in the Real World?

Whether or not you’re a math major, there’s no doubt we’ve all asked ourselves this question or variants of it. When will I ever use the pythagorean theorem in my life? When will I ever use the quadratic equation at my job? When the hell will I ever use geometry proofs in a job. They are all great questions. 

Now, there’s 2 ways I can answer this question. And we’ll cover both in this episode.

First, I could tell you all the high paying jobs which open up if you understand math. Jobs like video game programmers. Think of X-box, which uses vectors and motion calculations. Actuarial science jobs where you can make 150,000 or more. Statistics and probability jobs. Architecture and engineering jobs. Economist. Data Engineer. The salaries for jobs with skills in math sit at the high end of most jobs. So money is one option. 

I could tell you math helps explain the universe, like the speed of light, and physics principles. But that’s not even the main answer.

That’s the first use of math. But my favorite answer to give to the question, When will I EVER use math in the real world, is this little story…

I’m a huge fan of etymology, the roots of words. Since Algebra is one of the top 3 subjects my fans need help with, we’ll start there. When you look at the root of the word Algebra, it’s an old Arabic word pronounced Al-jabr. Loosely translated, it means the reunion of broken parts. And here’s why that’s important…

In all your life, whether it’s school, relationships, college prep, jobs, or starting a family, there’s one universal trait you’ll need from the womb to the tomb.

Problem Solving

Life is a series of tests for you. Passing these tests requires problem solving skills. And nowhere do you build and sharpen this skill better than math class.

Al Jabr means the reunion of broken parts. Think of a puzzle. You open the box and dump the pieces out. To solve the puzzle, you must reunite the broken pieces until they form the right combination which reveals your picture.

All throughout your life, no matter what job you work, people you meet, or places to go, you’ll always be solving problems. And the math classes you took help with this. Not necessarily from formulas, equations, and theorems. No, no no. Instead, it’s the methods you used to figure out your math homework. The problem solving methods you learned, both from math, your teachers, and your classmates.

The problem solving skills give you the power to conquer the challenges of life. Consider this...There’s only 12 musical notes. But the combinations of them create unlimited songs. Think of each music note like your problem solving skills. As you add more problem solving skills from math class, you add to your talent stack. The more skills in your talent stack, the more problems you can solve. The more problems you can solve, the more valuable you are.

It’s an unofficial secret, when you work at a job, you aren’t paid for how hard you work, you’re paid for how hard you are to replace. The harder you are to replace, the more money you get. Do you know one of the main skills of those who reach the top levels of jobs? You guessed it...problem solving.

Problem solving starts with confidence. As you work on your problem solving skills, you gain more confidence, which helps you take on more challenges. The more challenges you pass, the more you succeed. Math builds confidence by testing you, even breaking you at times. Just like working out with weights makes little microtears in the muscles which heal back thicker and stronger, so does your confidence and brain power build back with the trials you go through in math class. You’re broken down and rebuilt, faster and mentally stronger with problem solving.

Think about the skills and talents you learn with problem solving…

  • Analysis
  • Critical Thinking
  • Root Cause Identification
  • Fact Finding
  • Brain storming
  • Lateral thinking
  • Process of Elimination
  • Thought Experiments
  • Time Management

The list goes on and on. Everything on the list I just read to you benefits you in life. And these skills get built and sharpened in math class. In fact, I wouldn't even call it math class. I’d call it a crash course in problem solving mastery. 

The wrong question to ask during math class is, when will I ever use this stuff?

The right question to ask during math class is, what am I becoming? What is this turning me into? 

The answer, of course, is a problem solving weapon, being sharpened for the real world of bosses and deadlines and pressure situations. You don’t have to like it. Most people don’t. But it’s the rewards and skills you get which gives you the payoff.

It’s almost a universal declaration by most students and parents that math is usually the hardest subject in school. If this is the case,then math problem solving skills act like a In case of emergency, break glass option later in life. From all the trials and challenges you went through for math, you come out the other end sharper and faster. Think of math class as a razor sharpener, and your problem solving skills are the razor. The sharper you get, the more challenges and obstacles you overcome. How is this valuable? On a job, you’re paid for the problems you can solve. As you move up, you’re paid for the bigger problems you can solve. Bigger problems equals a bigger paycheck. Bigger paychecks mean more freedom, more prizes, and more satisfaction. Even if you don’t obsess over money or want to care about money, then think of money as a way to keep score for the decisions you make.

Some decisions can be made quickly, with little to no thinking. But other decision may be life changing, and they involve problems which must be overcome. Without the right problem solving skills, you’ll fold like a cheap shirt. With the right problem solving skills, you’ll be cool, calm, and collected, ready to handle anything. 

The years you spend in math may give you headaches, anxiety, and frustration. But it’s all worth it when you get that 25% raise from your job, or when you conquer a new project, or when you win the next award in your career. Victory tastes better than any dessert. To get there, you must go through math class. But if you think of math class as a chess piece on a board to be moved for you to get everything you want in life, then the anxiety and uncertainty fades away. And it gets replaced by optimism and confidence. 

We covered a lot in this episode. And I want to help you crush college prep. So I put together a list of expert resources for you, to help you strengthen the weak link and avoid the multiply by zero problem for college prep. Resources like Test prep, financial aid, and mindset. Go to cpcshow.com. That's c-p-c-show.com. If you liked this episode, why don’t you subscribe to stay up to date on a treasure chest of college prep resources and tips? Thank you for listening.