Having analytical skills also means acquiring mathematical skills and being comfortable with numbers. Although math describes the world around us, a paralyzing factor for many people is that they find math to be intimidating or scary. This belief, of course, could arise from a multitude of factors, but I am here to tell you how to overcome that fear and put yourself on the path toward career advancement.
Start easy: use mental math
Math is everywhere all around us, starting from simple things like going to a grocery store and checking the price for an item, to dining in out in restaurants and calculating a tip, to financial transactions and big-time deals. A simple trick to get comfortable with math is doing mental math in your head. Instead of reaching for your smart phone next time you are dining out to calculate the restaurant tip, do it in your head. Practice doing simple things, like taking a percentage of a number in your head, adding numbers and subtracting them. When you are on the line in a grocery store and you got a few items, instead of waiting to the cashier to tell you the price – try to calculate it using estimates. Instead of adding numbers like 4.57 and 5.12 in your head, make it simple and add 4.50 +5. Everyone can do this, and although it is simple it — it has a tremendous impact on your brain. When this way of thinking becomes a part of your routine, your mind makes peace with math — it actually tells you “hey you have been doing mental math now in your head for a while, you are actually good at this!” The first step toward greatness is believing that you actually can succeed in something.
Small gains lead to big progress: keep trying
Let’s face it: some concepts in math can be very tricky. That it is why it takes people more than 5 years to get a Ph.D. in one very specific and specialized area of math. Now, we are not talking about you getting a Ph.D., but understand that even the brightest minds need time to make an idea their own and achieve greatness. Just because you do not understand something the first time, do not give up and say “I cannot do this”, instead try again and again. Maybe the first time it will not make sense, but the second time will be better, while the nth time you will actually get it. Adopt a growth mindset. I spoke about the advantages of the growth mindset extensively in this article, but in general, the idea behind the growth mindset is to focus on small progress rather than instantaneous progress to see real results.
Understand greatness: the key is to fall in love with math and create a desire to learn
One of the most important things for success is knowing why you are doing something. Why do you wake up in the morning and start your day? What is your motivation? Everyone is motivated by something that keeps him/her going toward a certain goal. Motivation comes from understanding the ‘why’ and in order to understand ‘the why’, you understand the whole picture. You need to understand why math is great, what potential it has, and how it can help you achieve your goals. Once you understand the greatness of math, you will see it as a powerful tool that can help you shape the world. Then, instead of being intimidated by it, you will fall in love with it. You will have a desire to learn more and more, which ultimately will bring you closer to your goal.