How you behave when you don’t know?

Last week I have shared on Facebook an old post of mine: a quote (anonymous unfortunately) on what good mathematics really means. This is one of all time quotes on mathematics, but I was incredibly surprised by the huge number of reactions I have received and also a great number of comments and messages about it.


A lot of people asked me what exactly would be that proper behavioral procedures for when someone doesn’t know and I have tried to answer it as good as possible. Obviously this kind of applies for me and some of you will not agree, just let me know what do you think in the comment box bellow.

For me, a proper behavior first starts with “not giving up”. I know it is an old concept, but when you don’t know something giving up just because you don’t know doesn’t give you absolutely no excuse. Not knowing how to solve a problem is totally understandable, but giving up solving it is by far the thing I don’t agree with.

Secondly, it would be “learn more about the problem”. If I don’t know how to do something, I would just definitely start with the theory behind it. I look at the problem/question and try do break it into parts to see what the theory behind it is. Also, this helps me understand more about the actual question: maybe there is something I need to find/do before properly answering the question.

Next on my list is “applying different methods” which is linked with the part before. If my methods don’t work, I should definitely try something new. On this part I would probably ask someone else for help if I can. Seeing the problem through someone else’s eyes is always a good idea. Even if they are not the very good at mathematics they can give you great advice. I used to ask my fiance for help in my university assessments and he is doing psychology and doesn’t know many high mathematical concepts, but his questions about the problem were always helping me a lot (he called them “stupid questions” but I found them very smart and interesting).

I believe that these 3 are my best advises so far. Feel free to tell me your ideas and opinions about this idea. I would love to know them. Hope you enjoyed this short post. Have a great day.  You can find me on Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  Twitter,  Instagram  and  WeHeartIt. I will try to post there as often as possible.

Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy! ~LThMath 


2 thoughts on “How you behave when you don’t know?

Add yours

  1. I would say first is to have the intellectual honesty to recognize that you don’t know… (but the quote already presumes that). Otherwise I wholeheartedly agree, and I appreciate your article for the advice it provides! Thank you Ioana 😀


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