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June 19, 2012 / Dale Melchin

Excuses: The Strawman Arguments Against Life Change

Those of you who know my story know that I didn’t have the best experience growing up until I got involved in the Church and became a Christian.  I will share that story at another time.  I wish to focus on an area of my pre-Christian life that I think we will all find relevant.  My former deep hatred of Math, which as evolved into an abiding respect and even… love.

I had a teacher who in first grade yelled at me when I was having problems with Math.  I still remember the moment in my life when this happened with frightening detail.  From that day on I hated Math, and I developed the paradigm that if I couldn’t get it right the first time, everytime, I didn’t deserve to try at it.  I wasn’t able to describe it in that much detail at the time but after much reflection and self analysis, I can.

While looking back on the time, I don’t blame the teacher, or even my bio-parents who really were the ones who set the pace for that particular scripting in my life.  I drew that proverbial line in the sand a long time ago.  I decided I would take responsibility for my life.  However, the paradigm remained with and it spilled over into other areas of my life.  It has been that paradigm that has tripped me up in other areas of my life.

While I will not elaborate on the areas of my life that pernicious paradigm, damaged.  I will tell you what I did to resolve the issue.

Face Math square on and grab it by the horns.

This is where Khan Academy comes in.

My friend Jeremy recommended this website to me.  It has a complete and total battery of Mathematics courses.  In 10/4/2011 I started with Addition 1.  After several days of activity I charged up to Solid Geometry.  I understand it.  Granted, I need to review somethings, and then I stopped b/c I entered a transition point and got busy working at my new job.  After that I’ve had some starts and stops through out as you’ll see that on the far side of the chart, and I kinda leveled off on my progress.  That is in an indicator that I was working on other areas.


The reason why I was able to make such rapid progress and accomplished  Grades 1-8 of Math is for these following reasons.

1. I decided I was going to do it, no matter what.  Come hell or high water I was going to do whatever was necessary to get it done.

2. The Academy gives you as many times as you need to fail and learn from it until you master it.

That second point is what I want to focus in on.

Going back to my negative original paradigm.  My original paradigm did not allow me to give myself the space to get things right.  Now that I’ve drawn the line in the sand.  I can give myself the space to get things right.

The “artificial world” of Corporate America or Education, or anything built by man puts time limits in which we must succeed or we fail and for good reason.  It creates a hole in the floor for slackers to be dropped out of and it gives the motivated a chance to shine.  The only draw back to it is in those situations our worth to the organization diminishes b/c the organization is incapable of recognizing intrinsic worth.

However, that does not mean that we need to put artificial limits on ourselves.  I’m not talking about goal setting where you have a deadline either.  What I am talking about is taking those artificial measures of worth that organizations tend to put on people.  When we pull the judgments of others into ourselves, and I mean the limiting, unkind judgments of others, not the “judgments” that are intended to make us better.  When we pull the negative judgments of others into ourselves we don’t give ourselves the space we need to be able to grow.  We don’t give ourselves the opportunity to grow or even the time to grow.  We need to find ways to transcend those limits.  Challenge ourselves, and rise to meet those challenges.

Bringing it back to Math.  Untying the psychological knot of Math has made all kinds of other things possible in my life.  Its not the math.  Its the untying of the psychological knot. That has done it.  I have all kinds of things that I am up to that I won’t talk about because frankly when we talk about our goals, we don’t do them.

We all have different psychological knots that need to be untied, so I’m going to close with this question.

What would untying your psychological knots make possible?


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