Monday, September 27, 2010

What Pascal’s triangle taught me about life? Understand your habits

This here is Pascal’s famous triangle. By the way, Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician and philosopher.

1 1
1 2 1
1 3 3 1
1 4 6 4 1
1 5 10 10 5 1

Here’s how the triangle works? Each level is the power to which you want to raise a term to. Level one means raising some terms like (x + a) to power 0 which will always result in 1. Level 2 is (x + a)1 which will result in (x + a) as answer. Level 4 means (x + a)4 which results in the coefficients 1 4 6 4 1 and hence the answer x4 + 4x3a + 6x2a2 + 4xa3 + a4. This blog was not conceived to teach you Pascal’s triangle but the beauty of the triangle.

This is how it works? To get to a higher level, you need to have a knowledge of the pattern of coefficients of the level before it. This is how it helped me resolve some problems in life. To get to a higher state in life or before I start complexing my life, I need to understand the simplicities I was dealing with, otherwise, I would be lost in the maze of complexity which is our daily life. Generating a complexity from the preceding solutions involves mastering the solutions that you have been dealing with and the ability to understand the pattern for that solution whenever it arises again. I’m not talking about understanding what happened in the past in order to resolve the present. No. Pascal’s triangle is all about understanding the patterns of your past and present way of living before adding or removing one or more layers to it.

Imagine say five or three years ago. Those years ago, you must have been on a different status of life before now, maybe you progressed somewhat or it was the opposite. Did you understand the patterns in your life? Habit is something that everyone has. Did you understand what you did regularly and what made you succeed? Did you use those patterns to build upon the present or someone just gave you a lift? Understanding patterns and using them to get to where you want to can make a big difference between living a simple or complex life.

Without Pascal’s triangle, solving a problem like (x + a)6 would take me considerable time, even if I try to simplify things down to (x + a)2 three times and multiply the results. Understanding the pattern in Pascal’s triangle and building upon those patterns simplified the resolution. I found a “wow!” experience in the beauty behind the maths.

What are some scenarios that can make life complex?

1. You just got a raise in the office and your employer requires you work some extra hours? Take time to reflect on the habits or patterns in your life that made you succeed. Name that habit. Ask yourself questions just as: how would this new situation impact on my present habit of success? How would my life be if I worked the extra hours? The extra hours represent a layer of complexity to your present life. What do you need to give or take to make the extra hours conform to the present habits of success? You should never compromise on a formula for success, no matter what.

2. You discover that your source of income has been compromised. You might go financially bankrupt in the short term if things continue the way they are. What do you do? Do you allow the situation to overwhelm you and make you involve yourself in unbecoming business transactions? Donning the mantra of simplicity is what learning from Pascal’s triangle can do. Evaluate the solutions you have and the pattern of those solutions. Filter them into groups: sources that are still viable and those that will soon fall into the red. Work on the viable ones. How can you use the viable ones as a pattern to solve the problem of lost revenue? If the lost revenue cannot be recouped, then the pattern of viable sources should be what you must have in your hands before you allow the stress of the situation to overwhelm you. Evaluate your strength. In the words of Pascal’s triangle: staying at the pattern for success while scouting for solutions.

I hope you got the idea of the beauty behind Pascal’s triangle. I am presently using it to resolve some biting financial problems. You can also.

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