Math Formula for Life

The Remarkable Simple Math Formula That Explains Most Things: A Test for Any Time, Anywhere


The concluding article in this series returns to the universal formula—actual divided by expected—that underpins various facets of human experience. This simple yet powerful equation not only offers a mathematical framework for understanding complex phenomena but also serves as a practical tool for self-assessment and insight, applicable in real-time, regardless of location.

The Universal Equation: Actual Divided by Expected

The elegance of this formula lies in its simplicity:

This equation serves as a versatile measure, providing quantitative insight into areas as diverse as reality, information, attention, and even boredom, as discussed in the earlier articles of this series. It’s a lens through which one can gauge harmony or discord, engagement or disinterest, surprise or predictability.

Enhanced Practical Applications: Making It a Real-Life Tool

One of the most compelling features of the universal formula—actual divided by expected—is its ease of practical application. It can be instantly transformed into a real-life tool for introspection and adjustment by simply jotting down the two numbers that comprise the equation. Here’s how to make it a consistent practice:

  • Capture the Numbers: Whenever you experience a noticeable emotional or cognitive state—be it waning attention, heightened engagement, dissatisfaction, or euphoria—pause and write down the numbers. Use your expectations as the denominator and your actual experience as the numerator.
  • Immediate Insight: Examining the numbers immediately offers a snapshot of your internal landscape. If you find your attention drifting during a meeting, jot down your expected level of engagement and the actual level. The quotient will often reveal why your focus is diminishing.
  • Consistent Practice: Make it a habit to capture these numbers multiple times throughout the day. Over time, patterns will emerge that offer deeper insights into your behavior, preferences, and emotional triggers.
  • Course Correction: Once you’ve identified a trend, the formula also serves as a diagnostic tool for course correction. For instance, consistently low quotients in a particular aspect of life can signal the need for altered expectations or increased efforts to change the ‘actual’.
  • Record-Keeping: Consider maintaining a dedicated journal or digital note for these quotients. This allows you to look back and evaluate your progress or changes over time, making the exercise not just a momentary check-in but a longitudinal study of your own life.


The universal formula of actual divided by expected is not merely a theoretical construct but a practical, real-world tool for self-evaluation and improvement. By regularly jotting down the two crucial numbers that make up the equation, you can gain instant insights into your emotional and cognitive state. This practice turns the formula into a consistently applicable guide for navigating the various complexities of human experience, from attention and information to reality and boredom.

Author: John Rector

John Rector is an AI Futurist who predicted the next word in business™, starting with his notable paper from 2015, "Mommy, What's a Cashier?" Drawing upon 40 years of experience in the practical applications of high technology, he assists clients in converting uncertainty into strategic advantages within a one-to-six-year framework. With leadership roles including IBM executive and co-founder of e2open, he has a diverse and impactful background. In the AI sector, he has set benchmarks through his contributions to Mind Media Group and Florrol, pioneering AI-based services and content generation. His investment initiative, Waterway Ventures, is committed to advancing promising AI startups. His creative ventures include founding Bodaro and graphic design studio Palm ❤️. In education, he has launched Nextyrn, which uses AI for personalized learning experiences, and in art, he leads Potyn, an initiative using AI to create bespoke pieces. His ever-expanding portfolio features companies like Nozeus, Infinia, Blacc Ink, and Maibly. Operating from Charleston, SC, his current focus involves partnering with individuals and enterprises to develop innovative business models and processes for the rapidly approaching age of AGI.

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