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Richard Martino's
Pearls of Wisdom

People pay you to solve their problems. In general, the more problems that you solve and the more that people desire their problem to be solved, the more you will get paid.

There is no partial credit in real life. If you build a bridge and you make a “simple math error” and the bridge collapses and people die, you are still 100% responsible for their deaths.

One of the most difficult skills to master in any subject is the ability to recognize. Recognize what? Yes, that's half the problem. Knowing what to recognize is vitally important. So is knowing what to ignore. Once you know what to look for and what to ignore, then you can focus on honing your skills to recognize what is important.

Life is a word problem. In fact, you must first figure out the words yourself, then solve the word problem.

Learning math is like removing lint from your dryer. On the first pass you gather very little lint, on the second pass you get more. The more lint that you have acquired, the more more lint you get on each subsequent pass.

The Mathematical Light. I have met several people who have said that, sooner or later, they finally get it. Where “it” is their understanding of mathematics. It is as though the light finally turned on. I believe that, if you the student study mathematics long enough, your math light will also turn on. Hopefully, it will be during my class, but it will turn on.

It may not seem like this at first to the incoming math student, but mathematics was invented to help you solve problems faster. The notation and methods may seem strange, but they were developed after years, decades and even centuries of thought, sometimes even intense thought.

Mathematics is continually being developed, today, tomorrow and the ongoing future. Algebra was invented in the A.D. 800's by the Arabs. Calculus was invented by Isaac Newton and Leibnitz in the 17th century. Pierre Bézier invented a graphical design method using algebra in the late 20th century.

Mastering mathematics is a multi-directional approach. We teach you how to go from point A to point B, and sometimes how to go from point B to point A. In real life, you must first figure out (1) where you are at and (2) where you want to go. Then, you must sort through all of the paths that you know in order to go from point 1 to point 2, and choose the path or paths that get you there in the least time or the most reliably, which may not be the same path.

If you follow the rules of mathematics, you will always get the correct answer. You may take longer or shorter than someone else, but you will eventually get the correct answer. Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus and other branches of mathematics were all invented to solve certain problems faster. If you learn more mathematics, then you can solve problems faster and, hence, get paid more. (See first pearl of wisdom above.)

Confusion is a normal part of learning. Think about any subject that you have ever studied. Were you confused at some point? That's normal. Don't be worried that you are sometimes confused when learning math or any subject. Realize that we humans are intelligent beings and that we use our intelligence to resolve confusion. You will experience momentary confusion while you learn and you will experience momentary confusion while you work. Most white collar jobs are simply creating order out of chaos.

New information can be learned only when it is based on information that you already know. That's why different people learn differently. Given any new information, find something similar that you already know and base your new information on your exisitng information. Remember, though, that when you teach that new information to someone else they may not have the same basis of information that you have.

Dr. Ralph Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters International has said, “People learn best in moments of pleasure.” Smart people enjoy learning. Smart people laugh and express joy and excitement while learning. That's why they are smart.