Math is the Solution to Our Problems

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Living in a culture that is not native to us, we sometimes need help.  We may seek help with cultural discomfort and unexpected stress in professional and personal relationships.  There is a simple psuedo-algorithm that can be applied to problems that can lead to desirable outcomes. I call it, The 1-1-9 or 9-1-1 Algorithm.

I can recall a time when I was advising a couple that were having difficulties adjusting to living in a foreign country.  They came to me with strong complaints about many areas of their life.  I saw two main layers of concern.  The first was within their lifestyle as an expat, there were several environmental differences that seemed to be directly responsible for some of their negative feelings.  Secondly, while carrying out their usual day, there seemed to be difficulties in being able to apply proper words for their feelings thus hampering decision-making and goal-making abilities.  I recommended The 1-1-9/ 9-1-1 Algorithm to them.

The 1-1-9/9-1-1 psuedo-algorithm is G - CS = D1 ; D1/S = ND where ND < D1. Our fist variable is ‘G, 'goal.  Without a goal we have no way to begin the problem solving process.  The couple I was consulting wished to achieve many goals in which one was being able to express their cultural discomforts to one another.  After their defining of the goal, I worked with them to complete the second variable of the algorithm, defining your ‘CS,' current status.  Their current status was in a state to where they would find themselves reacting without knowledge of what they were reacting to.  After acknowledging their current status, we completed the third variable of measuring the ‘D1,' distance between the goal and current status. 

This measurement does not necessary have to be a physical difference, but it does need to be some form of measurement.  Examples could be a percentage estimate, number of steps absent, or ratios.  After a measurement occurs, a ‘S,' step should be developed to reduce the distance between current status and the goal.  The application of this step will equal your ‘ND,' or new distance.  Your new distance should be less than your original distance (D1), meaning that you are closer to your goal after applying a step versus when the process initially started. 

I recommended the couple make an initial first step of creating a list of situations that seemed to cause a reaction.  The couple accepted the suggestion and noticed their list was quite unusual.  After one ‘S,' step was completed, I recommended they repeat the process of measuring the distance between their current state and goal, then creating another step to reduce the distance until the goal is reached.

After repeating the process, a short time later, step by step, the couple finally reached one of their goals of being able to communicate their cultural discomforts to one another.  The couple would work on other goals using the same algorithm.  Use 1-1-9/ 9-1-1 for help.

 

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