I am by no means a math nerd, but when my pastor talked about the Fibonacci sequence in his sermon he had my full and undivided attention. It was as if the Fibonacci sequence confirmed exactly how I feel when one more thing gets added to my calendar. I feel overwhelmed as if that one thing came with uninvited friends.
Let me briefly explain the Fibonacci sequence. It is basically a sequence of numbers that are found by adding up the two numbers before it.
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 . . .
Do you get it? Here is an extended version of the Fibonacci sequence:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765, 10946, 17711, 28657, 46368, 75025, 121393, 196418, 317811 . . .
When I use the Fibonacci sequence to understand how overwhelmed I feel at times, it all makes sense. For instance this weekend my husband casually asked me to create a bison jerky recipe for his business Red Cedar Bison to bring to the Franklin Farmers Market next Saturday. I suddenly felt as if he had just put the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Why? Well, let’s just look at my regular schedule based on the Fibonacci sequence.
1. Devoted and faithful wife.
1. Present and involved mother to all 3 kids.
2. Prolific author.
3. Business owner Selah Press.
5. Helpmate in husband’s businesses GreenWorksLD.com and RedCedarBison.com
8. Friend and active family member in extended family.
13. Homeschool teacher for German and Math.
21. Provide healthy food for family.
55. Launch new services division. (Announcement coming soon!)
89. Dust bunny rancher and mess wrangler.
144. Taxi driver to school, dance and various activities.
233. Manage household.
377. Make samples for farmers market weekly.
610. Write a recipe for bison jerky (Find past research, slice and defrost meat, buy ingredients for marinade, create marinade, marinate meat, dehydrate meat, test, if successful format recipe, if not successful repeat.)
987. Publish 2nd Edition of How to Self-Publish by the end of the month.
1597. There is more but I didn’t want to frighten y’all.
Believe it or not number 34 is too often not taken care of based on the crushing demand of the other items on the list.
On number 610 I wrote out many of the steps it takes to do a single item. I think it is all the multiple unseen steps that make the Fibonacci sequence so true to my life. Every single item on our daily “to do” lists have layers of steps that take time and energy. We often add one more thing to our list without realizing the weight of that seemingly small task adds to our overall burden.
Somehow I feel less crazy for being overwhelmed occasionally now that the feeling has a mathematical equation and name. How about you? Does it make you reevaluate and prioritize your schedule?
Donna DeRosa says
Wow, you have an impressive list of books. I’ve been self-publishing myself. I have a whole list of topics I want to write about. I can’t wait to check some of yours out.
Thanks! I’m about to launch author services too.
Diana Baker says
I am a math nerd, and I love this blog post.
I am not a math nerd and I still love this blog post! I am a list nerd and I do like to write out all the steps in detail so I know exactly what I need to do.
I’m a list nerd too!
Claire T says
I almost couldn’t read when the first line said, “math nerd” as I am the exact opposite but cute and funny post.
Awesome! I’m glad you continued reading.
Pamela Mitchell says
Okay, Really Big Wow!
I really got this the minute I opened your email posting.
I can not begin to tell you how I relate, but this is totally awe-sum.
Get it, Awe-sum?
I feel this very same way a lot of the time, and every one of my girl friends have expressed this same building feeling of being swept away by outside forces, but I don’t think any of us have really taken the math into, “account,” to express the emotions of being overwhelmed.
May I use this example, and giving you full credit for a totally, real-life and crushing explanation for why we feel overwhelmed by the very things we love the most?
I do not know a woman in modern life who does not understand and relate.
Most Sincerely and Thank you,
Pamela Mitchell, Owner
Karen’s Botanicals LLC
Love you math jokes. Yes — share away. I think the feeling is very universal.
I love this post and that sermon sounds amazing. I think I would have loved it. Your life does sound busy so I can understand why you would feel overwhelmed at your husbands simple request. Do you wake up really early in the day to get it all done?
The sermon is online if you’d like to listen. It is the August 15-16 one. I do get up really early and I go, go, go until about an hour before bed.
Oh my, Kayla! You know that I am right there walking this path too. It’s like that old cartoon where the tiny little feather falls on top of the big pile and the entire thing just comes crashing down under what seems like huge weighty masses. That’s how I feel at times. The math comparison explains it so well. Such a little thing seems to multiply our stress level and overwhelm right before out very eyes. I will be able to see it all from a different perspective after reading this post.
I thought of you as I was writing this Ginger.
I am a math nerd and I love this! What a great explanation! But I’m wondering… if the fibonacci sequence can explain how and why we feel overwhelmed, could it not also be used to help us be more productive? It’s how plants grow, for Pete’s sake! Anyone want to comment or help with this?
Ha! I even Googled “how can the Fibonacci sequence make you more productive” and didn’t find the answer.
VANESSA GONZALES says
Good day, Mrs. Kayla! I would like to give you thanks for this very wonderful article. Your realization made me acknowledge a perspective I thought I did not need. If it is okay with you, can I use this article as a basis for my Math essay? Do not worry, I will give you the credits that you deserve! 🙂 This has been a very great help for me and you deserve to be recognized! I am from the Philippines, by the way.
Seems every new programming language I have to learn comes with at least one fibonacci function example right off the bat. Of course, not knowing how it is actually useful, I always forget what it is. I finally googled it out of frustration and came across this post. Thank you, I’m pretty sure it’s going to “stick” this time.