Can I Challenge a Math Equation?


Those of you who know me are enjoying this irony.  I have a better appreciation the qualitative world over the quantitative environment.  I am respectful of Math as it has taught me some valuable lessons.  I would like to propose an addition of a Rule #4 to the standard order of operations.   

Consider the consequences of adding and subtracting, and allow yourself permission to work from right to left.

Mathematicians have devised a standard order of operations for calculations involving more than one arithmetic operation.

Rule 1: First perform any calculations inside parentheses.

Rule 2: Next perform all multiplications and divisions, working from left to right.

Rule 3:  Lastly, perform all additional and subtractions, working from left to right.


Proposed Rule 4: Consider subtraction before addition and give yourself permission to work from right to left. 

Adding first can become problematic, how will you juggle this new task/assignment/opportunity?   Adding on too much is overwhelming and can lead to burn-out.  So, I am suggesting to subtracting first, and then thoughtfully doing any addition.  Also, allow yourself permission to work from right to left. 

Because life is not always lived from left to right!

The “S” on my chest has faded over the years.  My cape is constantly at the Dry Cleaners. (A special shout out to the one-an- only Darcy Eikenberg who fabulously leads the Red Cape Revolution…)  I do not have any more time than my colleagues and friends. I can make things look easy, but everything still takes that precious commodity of time.  I often wonder how I agreed to get this all done before the sun sets?  I am learning the lesson that I cannot and no longer what to do it all.  I want to be more selective of the things that do get my time and attention.  I do not know why this has taken me so long to figure out this equation!  This is on the heels of some other life lessons that have taken me a few years to grasp, but I am graced that I am still open to change and learning.

In subtracting first, I can add things with more thoughtfulness.  I do not suffer the dreaded FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out.   I admit, I suffered this in my younger days, but I have since been in recovery.  I am contemplating a few big subtracts this fall to leave some new room.   Fall seems like the opportune time take action to finish this year on a different note.  Fall always feels like a fresh start to me, maybe this is due to a long tenure in education.

I am also following the sage advice of Gretchen Rubin to create new patterns for success.  In her latest book, Better than Before, she unfolds the premise that when we change our habits we change our lives.  I was graced with a Lightening Bolt event three years ago that has added confidence in making even more changes.  I have also been privileged to witness the consistent behaviors of one of the most disciplined men I know and this too has added to the  life lesson.

Find your own counsel.  I have become better with this in my age.  I have made a conscious effort to surround myself with folks who bring joy, happiness and some stellar stretch advice and suggestions.  Somehow, I have heard their advice differently of late.  I have a most diverse group of friends and colleagues who have become my extended family and in some cases have become mentors, champions and sponsors.

I challenge you to find and create happiness.  Others will enjoy your company as you embody joy as your manta.  I challenge you that you can uncover this happiness in your work, if you love your work.  If you do not love your work, I dare you to find and create work that you love.  Laugh and make others laugh. Work with passion and determination.   Life is all about making memories.  Make the most of your day and your days…


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