I best describe myself as a pattern-hunter and a mathemagician. What this means is that in my spare time, I stare at sequences like squares, cubes, magic squares, sequences and series and the like and rearrange the numbers to see if I like them better. While driving, I tend to lose focus on the road, instead, split the numbers of the cars in front of me and multiply it. Over and over again till I can get to 15 cars a minute. The take away from this introduction is to never get in a car with me.
I was always known to do math differently. If the instructor was going one way about solving a problem, I would always look for other methods to reach the answer. That is what lead me to Vedic Math- a combination of speed math and mental math. Many years ago, I read the book on speed mathematics by Bill Handley. This was so long ago that they don’t print that edition anymore. Before long, not only was I studying the techniques that were taught, I began inventing my own. Some of my proud achievements are – inventing a faster method to multiply numbers by 9, 99 and 999 and so on, , proposing an alternate method to calculate cube roots, and generalizing the missing digit trick and others. However, I am neither an expert nor consider myself superior than others. I am just an enthusiast who spends a lot of time on this.
Why Mental Math
Are you ready to forget what you may have learned, and re-learn that what you may never want to forget?
The impulsive and the impatient in the room would understand the need to do things fast. The math which they taught you in elementary school is slow and in my opinion, just taught wrong. For example, how were you taught to add two numbers? You put them on top of each other, draw a line and began adding from right to left starting from the units digit right? That is slow. By approaching the problem from the left to right you can not only do it in double the time but can also do it in your head. Before long, you will start adding stuff like 249535 + 926395 in your head in seconds. Of course, it does take practice.
As an Indian living in the United States, I have a bad habit of constantly converting dollars to Indian rupees. Mental math allows me never having to open my phone to convert $17.87. Before long, even you could be able to multiply 17.87 by 68 inside your head. Likewise, at the gym, you can use mental math tricks to convert pounds to kilos. On the road to Canada? Easily convert miles to kilometers at the drop of a hat. Convert Celsius to Fahrenheit within 2 seconds. You can do all this with mental math.