Why is it that one person enjoys math, while another person hates it?
Why does one child happily and quickly calculate a simple sum, while another won’t even attempt it because they’re convinced they’re simply "no good with numbers"?
The problem certainly isn't caused by lack of intelligence.
In fact there are many examples throughout history of seemingly "stupid" people who could do amazing things with numbers.
Take case of Jedediah Buxton (1702-1772), an illiterate laborer who became famous for his number skills. His employer once asked him:
"In a body whose 3 sides are 23,145,789 yards, 5,642,732 yards, and 54,965 yards, how many cubical eighths of an inch are there?"
Before giving answer, Buxton asked "which end" of 28-digit answer he should start at, as he could recite it just as easily forwards or backwards!
Of course, mathematical prodigies are born, not made. But it does beg question:
"If somebody who can’t even read or write is able to perform these kinds of breathtaking calculations, what stops other people from doing even simple sums?"
Clearly, something went wrong along way.
Young children naturally enjoy numbers. And even people who now have an intense dislike for math often say they once enjoyed it.
What has happened to them is generally an unfortunate event in their past.
Perhaps they were ridiculed for a mistake they made with numbers, in front of entire class.
Maybe they missed some crucial math lessons and never really caught up.
Or perhaps they were taught to handle numbers mechanically - when what they really needed was some explanation of why numbers work way they do.
Whatever specific reason, bad experiences with numbers left an emotional scar, which developed into a phobia to keep sufferer safe from further harm.