About the “Fear of Math”

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“Self Portrait” © 2006 Brittney Bush Bollay, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.

Apparently, I didn’t just make up the idea that some people, including perhaps some of you, are afraid of math.

In fact, not only is it true that some people are afraid of math, but we have some evidence to demonstrate why they’re afraid of math.

It turns out, according to this study, that about 40% of math anxiety comes from genetics. Hey, you can partly blame your parents! Or at least their genes.

The other 60% comes from your experiences with math, including early childhood struggles. Hey, you can partly blame your teachers!

But the real takeaway for me is that once you know this, you can face it. Numbers aren’t your enemy. Not knowing important things is.

If you’re math phobic, think of it the way you think of insurance: You might not want to use it, but if you ignore it, it could create some huge, expensive problems for you.

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