The Square Root of Life

I have always adored the world of mathematics.  It is orderly, methodical, and predictable.  As I child, it filled my life with a steadfast stream of numbers and equations.  I could wrap my arms around formulas and they in turn brought me the comfort that comes with consistency.  Soon I was calculating complex math equations in my head; finding a way to cope with awkward adolescence.  I also discovered, upon hitting calculus, that there was a limitation to my numeric capabilities and that Einstein’s legacy was safe!

One area that I became fascinated with was the concept of the square root.  You are given a number and must find the two equal factors that once multiplied will equal the original number.  Case in point; the square root of four is two.  Simple enough, right?  But I soon had to face a challenge in accepting that negative two times negative two is also four.  So every squared sum can be the result of two positive factors, yet it can also be the sum of two negative factors as well.

As human beings, we too are the sum of many factors.  Some of these are positive, while others are negative.  If you had to come up with a number that represented the total of your life experiences, surely it would be in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands.  We lead a complex existence and are exposed to endless experiences.  Combined, all of these seemingly unrelated events and encounters make up the totality of who we are.  They define who we are and how we react to the world around us!

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that you have had an even ten thousand factors influence your makeup over the course of your lifetime.  The square root of that number is one hundred.  But it can also be negative one hundred too.  Without a hint of doubt, either answer is mathematically correct.  The question is, do you want to dwell on the negative experiences or bask in the positive ones?

Yes, we are the result of both positive and negative influences in our lives.  It would be foolhardy to assert that your entire existence has been made up of all positives or all negatives!  Yet the laws of mathematics state clearly that in order to get to the square root of a number, the identical factors must either be both positive or both negative.  You cannot have it both ways and still fit within the limits of mathematical logic and reason.  That leaves us each with a personal choice to be made.

We have been blessed with the gift of free will and the ability to choose.  We can focus all of our energies on everything that has hurt us or disappointed us.  That is called existence.  On the other hand, we can try to draw out the positive lessons in everything that has harmed us over the years.  We can zero in on all of the positives.  That is called life!

Every day our life’s number grows.  We meet new people or face new situations.  Each of us allows these experiences to affect us.  We choose whether we are imprisoned by the pains of the unpleasurable or liberated by the enjoyable.  We are also given the opportunity to mentally change that which affects us negatively into positive lessons.  If you take a negative and choose to remove it; you are in essence multiplying a negative times a negative, which becomes a positive!  Those lessons, in turn, have now become positive numbers in the final sum called our lives! 

For those of you celebrating more than a half a century of life, break out your slide rules.  The rest of you can grab a calculator or open a spreadsheet.  Estimate the number of events and encounters that have molded who you are.  Now, take the square root of your life and write down your answer.  Was the answer a negative or positive number?

About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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2 Responses to The Square Root of Life

  1. Rads says:

    Nice piece of writing – a well made point. If one tends to see the negative factors in their life as truly negative and hates it, one doesn’t learn from it. We are all the result of various events and happenings in our life – positive and negative. If you take out the negative, you woldn’t be the person you are today.

    • Rads,

      Thank you for your kind words; I genuinely appreciate them! It is amazing just how we allow negativity to creep into our lives. It takes root in the soil of our insecurity, it is nurtured by the water of our fears, and it grows in the sunlight of our self doubt. It is just as easy to find the positive in our lives and flourish in the beauty that surrounds us in the garden of humanity!

      Take the very best of care,


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