The 3 Biggest Reasons YOU Should Care About Math

(And none of them are “because I said so”!)

By Nick Denault

The 3 Biggest Reasons YOU Should Care About Math (1)

♫ Money Money Money… MO-NEY! ♫

If that awesome pic of the Swedish Band ABBA didn’t grab your attention, the concept of money should!

Did you know that studies have shown, that students will ultimately earn around $2,000 more PER YEAR for EVERY B or higher they achieve in one of their high school math courses!  Warning – Math ahead

2,000 x 4 H.S. Math Courses x 30 years of working…. = $240,000

That’s almost a quarter of a million dollars MORE in your working lifetime!

Think about it!  In every career path – from a job at Subway to a career in Sports Management – think of the hardest jobs in that path!

A Subway employee lets the register do all the work but the manager is responsible for balancing that register, assigning employee hours to keep the business profitable, and managing the stock counts for the store!  And a manager makes significantly more money for these responsibilities!

Want a job in sports?  Well the receptionist in the sports management department of a professional organization makes significantly less than the executive in charge of salary cap!  They are responsible for plotting player salaries and bonuses to be within “legal limits” not just for the current year, but for YEARS down the road!  Check out this interview with the Arizona Diamondbacks MLB team AGM!

A.)  Do you believe everything you see/read?
B.)  Do you consider yourself a “good” problem solver?

In today’s society, with social media inundating us at every turn, it is easy to get lost in the information.  There was actually a petition going around for us to ban dihydrogen monoxide in America!  Could you imagine?!?  ….have you Googled those terms yet?  Well, in math we associate the prefix “di” to mean “two”.  Dialogue (two people), divert (two paths) etc.  We also associate the prefix “mono” with “one”.  Monologue (one person), monopoly (one owner), monocle (that cool one-piece glasses thing that goes over one eye) etc.  Even without a background in math, we should know the background of these prefixes.  Imagine being fooled on a larger more complicated question.  Are all vaccinations dangerous?  Will climate change hurt us and can we fix it?  Or imagine not knowing how to calculate things that are guaranteed to impact your daily life.  How do I calculate how much interest I am paying each month on my credit card?  If the government raises the “mils” in my city, how much more in property taxes will I pay each year?  How much will my next hourly paycheck be and how can I figure out the percentage of the taxes that are taken out each pay period?  How much do I have to make each week before taxes to pay my monthly bills after taxes?

“Four out of five dentists choose our toothpaste!”.  That’s seems incredible.  Do you know what percentage this is?  Do you know how many dentists were sampled?  Five?  Ten?  Three-Thousand?  I was in a classroom once in which 3 students shared the exact same birthday.  Does this mean 3 students in every classroom are likely to share the same birthday?  Why or why not?

You only have a couple of options in this life:  let people who understand how to manipulate numbers take advantage of you, learn how to work with numbers well enough to work with them yourself, or stop reading this and then stop caring and then go back to your video game….but this means you are in that first category…sorry.

Do you consider yourself a good problem solver?  Congratulations!  I do as well.  But make no mistake, there are smarter people than you and I out there in the world.  And they often like to create problems for everyone else.  We all look up to those we think are better at something than us.  Pro Athletes, Actors, Politicians, Artists…  They may be better than us because they are talented, but they have outworked everyone else they have met along the way.  And if we put all of our eggs in one of these baskets and knowing full well that 99.9% of the baskets do indeed break, we have no one to blame but ourselves for our failures. Do we not owe it to ourselves to be well educated?  There is nothing more frustrating than losing an important battle not because we are not smart, but we simply lack the education needed to show the world how smart we truly are.

Great news though!  Want to be a better problem solver?  Most of us are doing it already!  Having a great understanding of words allows us to get our point across better so reading and writing are critical.  Play video games or apps?  These are scientifically proven to be GREAT at boosting problem solving skills!  But video games don’t end the conversation.  Studies show that being above average with playing video games only helps your overall real world problem solving ability when paired with average or higher reading and math scores.  It is one half of a puzzle.  Education is the other half.  Games like Tetris allow you to problem solve in 2D and games like Portal allow this in 3D! (Tetris come from “tetra”, a prefix meaning “4”…4 squares in each shape).

Algebra is just problem solving.  And it’s like any job you will ever have.  Learn the rules, apply the rules to the problem in front of you, achieve the simplest solution possible that solves the problem.  Close your eyes and imagine football…it’s rules…the problem…either score or stop them from doing so.  Now replace it with 2x+3+6x=19.  The rules of Algebra never change.  The solution is right there for the taking.


Suffer now…happy later.  Choosing a career.

Many of us have heard, “Find a career you love doing, and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life”.  Although many of our careers – even if we are right where we want to be – will still require a great deal of “work” this quote helps us remember that we need to set up the life we want to live.  A quote that has stuck with me my whole life, is one that was given to me by my costuming professor when I was in college for Theatre.  (That’s right…a math teacher with a theatre degree as well!).  It was, “Quickly, Cheaply, Well-Done…Pick Two.”  It means that in life, there is no way to have it all.  You can apply this to simple examples and you can apply it to life.  How does math fit in?  Well we have already covered a little bit of the financial benefits, but think about the emerging industries in America.  Nearly every single one involves math!  Coding?  You have to take up through Calculus.  Engineering?  You really WILL need to know how far the tree is from an adjacent building and it’s angle of elevation.  Business Owner?  You have to know where the money is coming in, and where it is going out or more people will try to take it out.

If you do not want math to be a large part of your life, I can sympathize and understand.  But the better you are at math, the more of your financial future you will control.  If you do want math to be a part of your life because you either enjoy it, or you know how much it can benefit you down the road check out the website listed here.  Take a look at the highlighted sections?  Hard to deny the benefits, huh?  And all it takes to head in this direction is time and effort.  But we are all aware, that nothing in life worth doing….is easy.