Joy is in the solution, not the answer.

I find that the solution to a math problem is much more interesting than the answer.  You tell me the answer, and I automatically think, “How did you get that?”  An answer is either right or wrong, but the solution illuminates the thought process leading to the answer, and even for the same answer, there are often many paths to get there.  Maybe it’s just a corollary to this proposition:

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”  – Greg Anderson. 

And that’s just an interpretation of Aristotle’ idea of happiness.  According to the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, happiness (eudaimonia) is not a state of being, but an activity.  The solution to a problem is where the “action” is, so that’s where the joy is. Although there is great satisfaction in solving a hard problem, finding the answer leaves you craving more problems to solve.

So, enjoy the solution process!  And learn to share your solutions — your joy.  Often really smart kids have trouble with that.  Their minds work faster than they can interpret their thought process into words.  But, like I said, the solution is where the joy is.  In my classes, I’ve frequently been astonished by the clever, creative , and elegant solutions my students come up with! 

I’d love to hear your solutions.  If you would like to share your solution to any of my problems, please feel free to email me at  You can type in your solution, or write it out and scan it.  Maybe you even have a way to record your solution into a microphone.  With your permission, I may even post your solution to share with others.  And thank you for letting me share my joy with you!

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