· 5 min read

Math motivation



Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

I have always been interested in 🧮 even after failing twice at math exams during college.

I have been collecting a lot of notes on the topic for the last 6-8 months and recently the number of notes exponentially grew. (damn recommendation systems). Some I came up on my own.

This should be a good time to publish the list and see how things evolve.

Maths is a language that applies to the real world

It is a human language like English because it helps to talk 💭 with each other. 1

It is the language of nature. 2

Perhaps we can think, teach, and learn like it’s natural.

It is the same for everyone

Maths is everywhere. Even if you don’t notice.

⏰ 🗺 🥇🥈🥉🎰🎲⚽️🍻

You have to learn it once and use it everywhere.

Plus you can learn it from anywhere.

Emphasis on maths from home 🏡3

People in Spanish class who come from 🏡s where Spanish is spoken are going to be better from day one☝️ . 🧮 is the same.

Maths is useful and fun

  • It is cool when others are silently looking for their calculator and you just say the answer.

Run the numbers! 4

  • You can verify a lot of facts by just running the calculating things in your head.

Maths Is a Playground 5

if you stop✋🏽 and look 👀.

  • You can explore the patterns on 🌊 🐚.
  • Play with tiles and shapes.
  • Categories objects in bizarre and creative ways.
  • Do puzzles 🧩.
  • Do origami.
  • Study the patterns in music 🎶.
  • Study the structure of trees🌳s.
  • 🎨. 🧶.
  • Create secret codes.
  • Program 🖥.

Math is reasoning not memorizing or speed

It doesn’t matter how you get there if your reasoning is correct. 6

There is no single right way to solve it.

There is nothing wrong with counting on fingers 🖐🏽 as an aid to doing maths. 7

It actually indicates an understanding of arithmetic more than if everything were memorized.

Maths is boring when it is taught incompletely 8

aka we know only a handful of processes

Processes are like cookbook knowledge 👨‍🍳📖

Maths is a whole toolbox 🧰 of operations that can apply to different situations.

Knowing the processes is important but does not make you good at maths.

Tools of Maths are simple. 8

  1. Number​ (In all their forms)
  2. ​**Operations (**​Arithmetic; all others are derived from them)
  3. Laws (applies to all numbers)
  • Commutative
  • Associative
  • Distributive
  • Identity

If you know these ​you can construct the process on the fly​.

When learning Maths

Bring your ✍🏽 pen and 📝 paper 9

Maths becomes hard when you move away from the real 🌎 and abstract it beyond recognition. 1

Like any problem, you can sleep on numbers.

Go away for a while. Rest.

Are you studying maths for an exam?

  • Or are you exploring it because it’s fun???

There are advantages to each.

Studying for an exam means you likely have a deadline and you will tend to go through the material faster.

The problem here is you are less likely to go deep and may forget 🧠 things as soon as an exam is over.

Exploring for fun means overall you will sustain your learning for longer and be less overwhelmed.

But this also means you will take much longer than need time and then wander off 💭.

Balance is the key. ⚖️

The best way to study math is to have constant exposure to it. 9

Unformed Thoughts: Math requires

  • concentration + focus + patience + feedback + testing

Cultivate a habit of looking at math and make a conscious effort.

Concepts from Clean Code apply to maths to create clean maths. The cleaner your maths is the easier it will be.

Simplify formulas. Most formulas are intuitive and they are not as big when you break them up into their separate formulas.

Know numbers in all their forms. Variables. Functions.

Force yourself to calculate mentally first. Doing maths mentally is very fast and it requires less time. It is a good exercise to do. Plus it is better to have the answer and write the steps down rather than try writing a step-by-step and try to solve it. You know the answer already, you just have to write the reasons for it.

If you fear maths, all the fear you have you’ll feel in the first 30 seconds of encountering the problem. Close your eyes then a deep breath and read it with full concentration without concert for if you’ll be able to solve the problem or not.

Most people won’t use maths beyond basic arithmetic and aptitude tests. But the reason to learn advanced maths is the same reason you learn to write, It makes you a better thinker. You’ll have better reasoning skills, more common knowledge and make better decisions if you do maths. 10

Programming is Maths. You just have the computer do the work.

The kind of maths you are likely to use in daily life is arithmetic and once asked in aptitude tests.

Learn as you go but study the maths angle early


  1. What is Mathematics? 2

  2. Naval’s tweet on Math

  3. You’re Not Bad At Math, You’re Just Lazy

  4. Jordan Peterson - The Cost of Procrastinating & Wasting Half Your Life

  5. Math Dude: Why Is It Important to Study Math?

  6. Richard Feynman talks about Algebra

  7. Twelve Math Myths

  8. Classical Conversation: Why Should You Study Math? 2

  9. How to Get Better at Math 2

  10. Why Math is Important

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