As students we have always wondered – how will arithmetic help us in our daily life? We did innumerable word problems to become perfect at solving the same.  While I was thinking “what to write?” last night I simply used the ART of solving the arithmetic problem.Let me show you how!

Let’s solve the following problem:

Ram and Laxman live in Udupi. Their father is a doctor and mother is a teacher. Ram is 24 years old. He wants to go abroad for further studies. He is confused about which university he should go. Laxman goes to a public school. Two years ago Ram was twice as old as his brother Laxman. Laxman is having a birthday party on Saturday. How many candles will Laxman have on his cake?

It sounds rather confusing right? It does not state the problem directly and has excess information. Let us still give it a shot using the arithmetic way.


Step 1: What must you find? The number of candles = Laxman’s current age

Step 2: What is worth knowing? When Ram was 22, he was 2 times as old as Laxman

Step 3:Create the equation and solve.


Now that was not bad at all, was it? We just went step by step and it turned out to be a rather straight forward problem. Now think about any problem that you are trying to solve be it at work or at home, personal or professional. Write down as much as you can – create a Problem statement. Once you are done writing, use the ART of arithmetic problem solving. Not sure what I am talking about? Check it out:

Step 1:What must you find?= AIM

In problem solving, it is critical to know the exact problem. Isn’t it easier to get going once you know what to do (finding Laxman’s age in this case)? Spend some time exploring what is that you wish to solve or in other words what is your goal or aim.

In my case; “A” = Write an article this week

Step 2: What is worth knowing?= RELEVANT INFORMATION to get closer to the aim.

Now that you know the aim, filter the relevant resources (Ram’s age) and information(its relevance to Laxman’s age) that are available for you to get closer to your aim. It is important to take into account only that which is going to get you closer to your aim.

In my case; “R” =

  1. The theme of the month – Problems
  2. When I think of problems – math comes to my mind.

Step 3: Create the equation and solve. = THE COURSE OF ACTION to achieve the aim

There is an emphasis on “the” course of action as there are always going to be multiple ways of achieving the target (two equations could be set up). If you do all at the same time you may end up getting no result. It is preferable that you test one course of action at a time or stick to the course of action you like and knows that it works for you.

In my case; “T” = Use what comes to my mind to write an article related to theme of the month

This ART can be applied to all the real life problems. Note that the first two steps are more difficult than the last one. We are often unable to articulate our problems/issues and hence feel lost. We get overwhelmed with amount of information that is available. We want to give every piece of information equal attention and hence feel exhausted. Once we are able to figure out our aim and take into account only that which is relevant, the course of action seems rather simple!

Next time when faced with a problem –use the ART of arithmetic to solve it!




Who am I? I am Rupa – You know how people sometimes pursue a profession and then realize they aren’t doing what they really love? Yes, that was me! After being in equity research for 9 years I decided to make a major career change and pursue my passion of helping people take their dreams seriously and get into action. If you know someone who might benefit from my coaching, please invite them to contact me by phone or email. As coaching sessions happen over Skype, geography is not a barrier. Visit for more!