Emotional Equations

e=mc squaredI woke up from a nap the other day and reached for my phone. I opened up Facebook and saw a math riddle posted on a friend’s profile. I stink at math, but my oldest son, John Mark, is a whiz at it so I will sometimes see if I can find the solution to one of those riddles quickly and then challenge him.

This one drove me nuts for a few minutes, but I finally figured it out. It went like this:

You find a shirt at the store that you can’t live without for $97. You don’t have $97 so you borrow $50 from your mother and $50 from your father. 50+50=100, right? So, you go and buy the shirt and have $3 left over. You give $1 to your mother and $1 to your father and keep $1 for yourself. Now you owe your mother and father $49 apiece. $49+$49= $98 + your $1 = $99. Where is the missing dollar?

It took me a little bit, but I finally found the answer and explained it in a comment in my friend’s post. For those of you dying to know, the answer is: the last equation is incorrect. They should have subtracted the dollar in your pocket and come up with the $97 you still owed.

After posting the answer, I posted a second comment that read, “The psychology behind this riddle is that most people will not question the inaccurate equation. They accept the equation as truth and therefore will never find the correct answer. It is only when someone is able to back up and challenge the validity of the equation that the answer reveals itself.”

That false equation is a lot like our beliefs in life. We look at the world around us and make assumptions about what is right and wrong, what is true and what is false. We have done it since childhood and rarely did we take the time to compare those assumptions with the truth to ensure their accuracy.

Those assumptions eventually become beliefs, and if left unchallenged those beliefs become the filters for everything we see. Future interpretations are not made independently from our beliefs, they are compared to them. If they are incongruent, or go against our beliefs we “feel” funny about the situation. And because we are not in the habit of comparing our assumptions with the truth, we don’t do it now and simply follow “our guts” or “our intuition.” Those are phrases for: “I’m just going to following my emotions on this one.”

In over twenty years of counseling and coaching individuals I have discovered that most people believe poorly. What I mean by that is they typically still base their decisions on emotions that are based in old beliefs that have never been properly compared to the truth. Those old, inaccurate beliefs add up to inaccurate emotional equations. We “figure things out” using those old emotional equations and wonder why nothing ever changes.

Until you challenge what you believe and compare each belief with the truth, you will simply go with what you have always believed, which is why you tend to make the same poor choices over and over again.

If you are using the wrong formula you will always come up with the wrong answer.

If you need help discovering and challenging those old beliefs, find a coach that can help you do it. You are worth investing in!

Tagged with: , , , , , ,

4 Comments on “Emotional Equations

  1. We are coming into an election season where this erroneous formula will be used daily by both political parties. The ability to look at a statement, a claim, a proposal or any other belief-based idea, and be alert for the truth, is vital. A political season is a great time to practice your new skill and to learn to challenge your beliefs and other people’s statements.

    The most important beliefs to challenge are those that tell us we cannot do something, or that no one will be interested.


  2. Agreed! Most people’s lack of success doesn’t come from a lack of ability, but from the fact that they are believing the wrong emotional equations!

    Causes them to follow crazy agendas too!

  3. Your math is still wrong. You still owe $98!

    You kept $1 so Shirt $97 +$1 = $98 that you owe. +$2 that you gave back to your parents. Are you sure you are not still a teenager. They seem to think like your first calculation.

  4. I agree that I still owe $49 to each parent. That was never in question.

    The riddle was about a “missing” dollar. Subtracting the dollar to get $98 was showing what was spent, not what was owed, and therefor pricing there wasn’t a “missing” dollar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.