I am often asked if I use the mathematics and statistics I majored in the university, because most people wonder it’s relevance apart from teaching. Usually I will share it’s influence in the methodical and logical approach to thinking and solving problems in the Compliance & Regulatory field where I’ve been working as an Analyst and Finance person, which has been a nice justification for the question anytime it was asked.
But recently in a conversation, I was asked by a fellow mathematician, what influence majoring in mathematics has had on me after school. This time I realized, though my usual answer is right, it doesn’t show any unique influence of mathematics on my life, because any educated person can be trained to do what I do. I thought of the question and responded;
“Being a mathematician isn’t necessarily the course you study but who you become. It will take a lot of discipline, diligence, perseverance, hard work, intelligence, having your priorities right, setting goals, going the extra mile, critical thinking etc. to graduate as a good mathematician. These values make me standout in my career”
It dawned on me that the process of becoming a mathematician placed a demand on certain values, skills, and attitudes I needed to give to succeed- it pulled and created somethings out of me which originally weren’t active. I didn’t just get a certificate, I became someone new, fit for the world’s challenges and ready for exploits.
Life experiences and activities have a way of shaping you into who you need to be for your purpose. If the excitement is in the activities or the focus is on the pain of the process, we might lose sight of who we are becoming or can become. Your daily activities, routines, and encounters are shaping you into something. Your focus should be more on what you are becoming than on what you are doing.
Most people don’t know me because I read math, most recommendations I get has nothing to do with mathematics, and people don’t count on me because I’m good with numbers and familiar with mathematical theorems. Mathematics has played a great role in my life and career but not in the certificate I own but the values, lessons, growth, and mindset I gained.
Studying mathematics was one of my difficult journeys- I had the ‘giving up’ moments, the failures, the ‘God really?’ moments, the ‘I need a miracle’ experience, the emotional tortures etc. but looking back, it has been the most rewarding. I didn’t see the benefits during the journey, I was hoping it will be conspicuous enough to be seen and appreciated, but later in life, I realized I had to intentionally identify and choose them.
So it is with every life experience; no one naturally look at pain and smile but there is a smile in every experience, you need to find it and it will depend on which side you dwell on- the pain or the smile. Life will keep teaching, and as it has always been, it will use both the good and the bad, you decide the lessons you grow with.
I’m not saying ignore the pain of life or pretend it doesn’t exist, what I want you to do is find strength in the pain to intentionally look for the good your experience is offering. You are becoming something or someone with your experience, pay attention.
We have to be grateful for the different seasons in our lives, sometimes we have to be forced to grow and an experience though difficult can achieve that. The devil doesn’t win always, it’s working for your good.