Here’s one thing about human: they like to complicate things, when things should have been simple.

That happens in all aspects of life, including learning.

Remember when we were in school, studying algebra in Math class?

First time we encountered algebra, we said to ourselves, “God! Who creates algebra? I bet this won’t be useful for me!” (for your information, algebra was invented by al-Khwarizmi and it is VERY useful if you want to become scientist, engineer, or economist)

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Maybe you don’t want to be a scientist, engineer, or economist. But what if you do? Will you give up just because algebra is complicated?

Well, if you’re determined enough, you won’t give up. And let me tell you, that indeed you must not give up, because algebra is simple if you just take a moment to realize that everything in this world is not complicated as long as you FOCUS ON THE FUNDAMENTAL (to manage your expectation, this article will probably teach you a bit of algebra either, sorry for taking math as an example).

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Every single thing in this world consists of several smaller parts — except atom, probably – including algebra. You can break algebra down into a few key subjects, which means, logically, you can master algebra if you know about these things:

1) Number (1, 2, 3, … so on. Of course you know numbers, right?)

2) Arithmetical operations (+. -. x, :, etc.)

3) Several arithmetical laws such as (a+b = b+a)

The first time you opened the pages of Algebra chapter in your Math book, if you encountered things such as this…

1 = ¼ (x+2)

…and then you felt like running away, it simply meant you hadn’t realized how by focusing on the fundamental things, you can simply solve the equation.

Why? Because the equation above consists of 1) numbers, which you have known since you were in 1st grade, 2) arithmetical operations, which you have known since you were in 4th grade, and 3) arithmetical laws, which probably you haven’t mastered yet, but that’s good news! Because it means you only need to master this one particular thing.

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If you just stay longer with this equation, you will soon find out about the arithmetical law that you need to solve the equation, which is…

x * (y+z) = (x*y) + (x*z)

… and you will know the answer is x equals 2.

You want to know how to make a movie? Break it down. First, you need to understand how to tell a story. Second, you need to know how to use a camera, or find someone who do. Third, you need to know how to act or direct people to act. Of course the three things mentioned are not the only things you need to understand to make a movie. But those are the fundamental things. And the fundamentals are often the only things you need to make a start.

You want to know how to do business? Break it down. First, you need to understand what your consumers want. Second, you need to create a product that serves the need. Third, you need to know how to sell.

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Probably I am over-simplifying things here. But then, isn’t it the truth? Every complicated thing or subject is only a combination of several simpler, fundamental things.

So the next time you find something complicated? Break it down. Focus on the fundamental.

`header image credit: princetoncapblog.com`