Thursday, October 25, 2012

What I learned about business from martial arts, part 432

It's 3 am in North Dakota. The low for the day we leave here is 19 degrees. What the hell am I doing here?

We wrote a computer game to teach math, the Rocket Scientist and I, with some help from my friends, and now we are testing it on the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation.

Yes, this picture was taken through the window. It's cold outside. What, do you think I'm stupid?

As for what I am doing here, in very brief, in this country how well you do in math is determined by how much money your parents make. Children who attend schools in communities with wealthy families do vastly better than kids in schools in low income communities. If you don't do well in math, you aren't going to get very far in your education, so poor kids grow up to be poor adults.

We are going to change that.

Of course, people have been trying and failing for years. Who do we think we are?

It reminds me of when I was on the world team in 1984. We were all going around saying our goals in some team building exercise and I said,

"I am going to be best on the planet on November 11th."

One of my teammates called me conceited, hissing, "Who does she think she is?" and another asked politely why I thought I could be the first American to ever win a gold medal. I told her,

"Somebody's got to win. Why not me?"

Thinking one small company can change the opportunities disadvantaged children have to succeed is unrealistic.

Fortunately, I've had practice achieving completely unrealistic goals.

If you are interested in start-up lessons for martial arts you might like this post, too.


Prince of Happiness said...

I'm studying trigonometry now, pursuing a B.S. in Econ. After a young life feeling antagonistic towards mathematics, I found that my time practicing Judo has taught me to embrace and become comfortable with challenges. Sure, it can be demoralizing when I don't get the grade I want on an exam whereas some kids at my table get near-perfect without even doing the homework.

Your post came at the right time to encourage me further!

Anonymous said...

Good post. Here's someone else doing something similar closer to home: