Overcoming Calculator Dependence

Calculator Love

I used to love using the calculator during the time I was at preparatory school. I kept exploring the scientific calculator I had bought for school playing with all its interesting statistical and trigonometric functions. I used to rely on the calculator to do any form of simple math as well all the time. I had not been good at memorizing the times table.

Buying Milk

One day, I went to buy milk from the milk shop near home. As I got the milk and received the change I was totally clueless if such change the guy at the milk shop was giving me was the right change or not. I did not have a calculator with me to check it out and it was long before cell phones (that had calculators) were popular or even present at all. Even if I had had a calculator or a calculating cell phone it would have been totally embarrassing for me to get it out to make such a simple calculation in front of the guy at the milk shop giving me the change.

Breaking Dependence

The situation was a stressful one for me. As I went back home I relented relying on the calculator so much that I had not been practicing my ability to use my own brain for doing the math on the fly when I needed to. I felt it was too late for me to start now and that I should have started practicing my math skills long before. Nevertheless, my deep embarrassment back there at the milk shop made me determined to improve my personal math skills. I was determined to be able to calculate the change remaining when buying stuff from any shop.

Sustained Practice

I therefore set about practicing such skill by slowly attempting to calculate the change whenever I bought anything. I gave myself ample time every time I attempted such a calculation and never tried to rush it. Rushing it meant breaking my ability to improve such skill forever. Gradually, I became better at calculating simple math on the fly and never faced the embarrassment of not knowing what the right amount of change was any more.

Lessons Learnt

One lesson from this story is that facing a difficult situation can lead to a strong determination to improve one’s skill in order to be able to face similar situations in the future. Another lesson is that practice makes perfect and that it should be approached gradually.

What other lessons can you come up with from this story?

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