In Math there is always a formula to arrive to a particular resolution. Any given result can be explained through a formula: a sequence of commands that leads to a resolution. There is always a certain sequence of actions that leads to a certain specific –and logic- outcome. No matter how difficult, any logical outcome can be achieved if the right moves are made. The problem lies in knowing exactly what those moves are. Some resolutions are easier to achieve and the sequences of actions that lead to them are multiple and less rigid. But some outcomes are more difficult to accomplish and the necessary moves to get to it are less clear.
I know what I need to do to get me a cherry ice-cream or to go to New York on my next vacation. The required steps are easy and predictable. But I don’t know what I need to do to –say- get rich in the next year. The steps required to achieve that outcome are more complicated and much less clear. As with everything, I have a few ideas and a general concept of the course of action I could take but I don’t have a 100% effective map that will show me how to get rich in the next twelve months. Man, I wish I had that map. And a few others as well. I guess you do too, huh?
Because, even if it’s not written down, there is a map to every possible outcome. Whether you know it or not, there is always a formula to arrive to a given result.
If I make a call to a millionaire and I say certain things I can get him or her to donate me a million bucks, right? There is always a combination of actions (or words) that does the trick. Do I know what to say to this supposed millionaire to make him graciously cough up the big bucks? Nope. But there is a combination of actions and words that would produce that result –legally, of course-. There is a formula. I just don’t know it.
In Math, when you have the result but not the process, you can do the whole operation backwards or you can search for formulas that produce the existent result. In our life we usually employ the second approach. I know that I want to eat a cherry ice-cream from Haagen Dazs. In order to achieve that I could go to the supermarket, buy one, return home and eat it. Alternatively, I could go to the 24/7 drugstore which is closer than the supermarket and also sells Haagen Dazs.
But if I wanted to use the other mathematical method I could analyze the whole thing in reverse. I picture myself eating the ice-cream at home. What happened before? I got home from the drugstore. What happened before that? I looked it up in the proper aisle and bought it. What happened before that? I got to the drugstore from my home.
Same result, different approaches. Maybe if one doesn´t produce the desired outcome, the other one will. Or maybe not but at least it’s a different way of looking at the problem and that always helps.
I’m not saying anything new here. This is what we all do. This is the mental process we follow when solving a problem, decomposed to its main basic ingredients. Words and concepts dictate how we form our thoughts. If we can rearrange and experiment with words and concepts, then we can experiment rearranging our thought process and seeing what kind of results we get. We tend to use the same paths all the time, both physically and mentally, but when we change our routines we always gain something new.