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The Rate of Growth

I’ve always been strong at math. From the time that we were separated into skill levels in elementary school, I was always at the highest math levels. I loved my calculus course in high school and in University. So it came as a bit of a surprise this weekend when my brother blew my mind with the most basic of math equations: the equation for growth rate. I’ve always calculated it:

((Value Present – Value Past) / Value Past) * 100 = Growth Rate

It’s the only way I have ever done it. I’ve never even thought of calculating it another way. My brother couldn’t wrap his head around this equation, it was foreign to him. I was adamant that it is the only way to calculate the growth rate between two periods, then he explained his equation.

((Value Present / Value Past) – 1) * 100 = Growth Rate

Being the stubborn older brother that I am, I explained how absurd his way is and that it doesn’t work for all situations, like negative growth. But being the curious geek that I am, I also had to prove how I was right and he was wrong, so I set out calculating various growth rates.

It turns out he’s not wrong (being a stubborn older brother, that’s the best I can do). These experiences help to remind me to open my mind. Even when I’m sure I’m right that doesn’t mean the other person is wrong or that there isn’t another way to approach a problem. Seeing solutions from different angles can only help.

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