## Solving life’s problems with simple algebra

Written by Tom Richard | | tom@tomrichard.comAt the ripe age of 13, I fell in love with math. It was my eighth grade algebra teacher, Mr. Murphy, who opened my mind to the joy and simplicity of mathematics. My vivid memories include the sarcastic sign on the wall reading “Ignorance is Bliss” and the other students asking, “When are we actually going to use this stuff in real life?”

Unlike many of the other students in the class, I could see very real applications for algebra in daily life, so I took a particular interest in the subject. What I did not know at the time was that algebra has more applications than one textbook could possibly contain.

Algebra, and mathematics as a whole, when properly understood, can dissolve stress, vanquish fear and remove doubt. To understand how this could be possible, take a look at the root causes of stress, fear and doubt.

When we do not know what to do, we feel stress. When we face too many unknowns, we feel fear. When we are uncertain about particular outcomes, we feel doubt. Feelings such as stress, fear and doubt prevent us from being able to reach our business goals.

The next time you encounter a problem, try looking at it as if it were a math problem. The mathematical definition of a problem is, after all, a question that needs a solution; it fits.

Start by understanding what the word “is” means in mathematical terms. If you were to say aloud, “3 + 3 = 6,” you could simply say, “Three plus three is six.” Therefore, the word “is” represents an equal sign and an equal sign means that the expressions on either side of the equal sign are “balanced;” they are equal or the same.

Life has variables, but life also has things that are known.

Let’s say you work with a guy named Bill and you believe that Bill is not a good employee. This situation can be expressed as a math problem: Bill ? a good employee. To bring the “Bill equation” into balance, we need to change the left side of the equation. Therefore, Bill + X= A good employee. Now, we know where to start in order to find a solution. We need to figure out what “X” is, then we need to add “X” to Bill.

Perhaps “X” is an incentive. If that is true, then “Bill” + “an incentive” = “A Good Employee.” Now, you have something you can test. If, after adding the incentive, Bill still is not a good employee, then your hypothesis is false, and you can test another variable. Repeat the process until you find the real issue.

The key is in knowing where to start. Start by figuring out what you know. Then place the desired result (your goal) on the other side of the equal sign. After you figure out your starting point and your goal, you can solve the problem.

Knowing where to start dissolves stress, for stress only arises when you don’t know what to do. Knowing exactly which variables you are working to identify vanquishes fear, for fear only arises when you have too many unknowns.

Fall in love with mathematics all over again, use it every day, and you’ll realize that it is not ignorance, but knowledge, that is bliss. Rather, life minus ignorance equals bliss.

For brain teasing examples of how to apply this concept, go to www.boltfromtheblue.com and enter ALGEBRA in the Blue Print Box.

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Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales trainer, gives seminars, runs sales meetings and provides coaching for salespeople. For more information, visit *www.boltfromtheblue.com*, call (419) 441-1005 or e-mail him at tom@tomrichard.com.*