Take that, math! I feel so much better now!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas 398351

Worrying about math, not real estateI started a new book yesterday: How We Learn, by Benedict Carey. As I was reading the introduction, I found out something that was immediately worth the price of the book. I could have stopped reading at that point and been happy—actually, I was overjoyed!

I found out that math fear is a real thing. I can add and multiply (my mom taught me the multiplication tables with flash cards while I was in elementary school), but I am terrible at subtraction, fractions, geometry, algebra, and long division. The only number I have memorized is 43,560*, and I am good enough at real-estate math to pass the Texas agent and broker exams on the first tries—but that's it!

When confronted with a math problem, I freeze up. I have to draw pictures and make notes and stick figures to work through it. I've always been ashamed of my poor math skills and have recently been trying to improve them. Oddly enough, I love doing research and working with Excel spreadsheets, but I suspect it's because I enjoy finding patterns, and I can let Excel do the calculations for me.

Now to my relief, I have discovered I am not a dummy, although I'm sure I could benefit from reading the entire series of Math for Dummies books.

I could kiss the researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine who studied math anxiety with fMRI scans that showed that the brains of kids who experience it have biological differences from those who don't. Kids with math anxiety are overcome with feelings of fear when given math problems, and their emotions override their information-processing centers in the brain.

Further studies at the University of Chicago show that math anxiety is experienced similarly to actual pain. I am here to tell you it certainly evokes feelings of shame!

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book. Who knows what else I will find out? Maybe there's a good reason why I can't remember what happened in previous seasons of my favorite TV series!


*It's the number of square feet in an acre


Posted by


Robin Rogers, REALTOR, Broker-owner, TRC, MRP, CRS

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Comments (10)

Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Robin - I know a lot of people with that same fear of math, and many are Realtors, but I think it's interesting that all of them can quickly calculate 3% of any large number .

Mar 08, 2015 01:19 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Sounds like a fascinating book, Robin.  I might have to pick up a copy and see what good stuff I can learn.

Mar 08, 2015 07:21 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Robin, We're all wired a bit differently.  I learn best when things are in writing in front of me.  Auditory, not so much.  Perhaps that's why foreign language speaking in high school gave me fits.  The reading and writing parts I could do, but hear and understand?  Not so much.  Bill

Mar 08, 2015 07:44 AM
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

Dick, I've worked out easy ways to calculate commissions—and tips! I use 10% x 2 or 10% plus half if the service wasn't that great.

Chris and Bill, I've read a couple more chapters of the book, and it's really interesting! I think you guys might enjoy it, too.

Mar 08, 2015 08:00 AM
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

I'm not sure I have math anxiety but math and I certainly don't make a great couple. 

Mar 08, 2015 01:12 PM
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

And I bet they  have a pill JUST for that! Side effects include, bloating, loss of vision, thoughts of voting irrationally and stop taking this pill if your skin turns green.

Mar 09, 2015 01:25 AM
Sherry Scales
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Leander, TX
Realtor, for Austin, TX and surrounding areas

Sometimes I have to know why I need to know something...and see exactly how a problem works out before I get it. Algebra....x=something....forget about it!

Mar 09, 2015 04:52 AM
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

It's not easy being green

I had to discontinue the treatment, Greg.

Mar 09, 2015 05:08 AM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Hello Robin ... interesting post and featured to the group:


Mar 09, 2015 11:59 AM
Chuck Willman UtahHomes.me
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

I was on the high school math team. This was not my choice; the teacher picked me. Though I have performed well at math in school I am very careful to re-check my work. Homework was torture. Numbers can get away from me if I'm not careful.

And I see I'm not alone... and now the healing can begin

May 09, 2015 10:33 AM