Economic Multipliers (53)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Knowing who you are is an economic multiplier for you and the community you live in … IF the community values who you are.


Are you an ‘engineering type?’ I always hope people are because when I use the term, I’m not talking about ‘degree’ classifications: I’m referring to the way people look at the world and think.

'Engineering types’ to me are the problem solvers of the world: They look at problems and think: There has got to be a better way … and then they go to work. They come from all disciplines and income and education levels. What sets them apart is that they tend to pay attention to things other people sometimes miss and usually are looking for what is missing. And, when they go to work, they have every expectation that they can and will make a difference. That difference doesn’t have to be ‘earth-shattering:’ It might just be something that makes a difference in their own life and/or that of their family. If they share it, it might make a difference for someone else.

Sometimes ‘engineering types’ try things just because they want to have fun (and things like these can seem fun to them):

    • exploring,

    • driving fast or flying high,

    • lifting huge weights,

    • designing and/or building just about anything,

    • solving some local, regional or global problem,

    • curing some disease,

    • maximizing the yield for some crop, etc.

If you had to get ‘degrees’ to solve problems or create things, most of the things we can do today wouldn’t currently be possible. Each generation builds on what has gone before and a mere century ago, very few people had formal degrees. The life changers just went out and got things done.

Why then are countries frantically trying to get young people educated in math and sciences before (in particular) they leave high school?

The bottom line is: If you are going to build upon what has gone before and mechanical, technological and scientific knowledge are giving you those things while allowing you to explore more possibilities because of the existing bases of knowledge, you need the capacity to retain the things that work while continuing to figure out how to deal with the things that don’t work (and understanding math and science just makes it easier).

Bases in math and science can’t turn a person into an ‘engineering type.’ And being an ‘engineering type’ doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is strong in math and science. In fact, Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors in the history of the United States (every country has some) hired a mathematician to sort through the science and math that stood behind many of his inventions. Even if he could have figured it all out (and I expect that he could have), with all the creative ideas he had related to testing materials and building prototypes, he probably wouldn’t have had the time.

The advantage of getting certain types of education (mostly related to science and math but also business and most PhD level education) is that when you look in the appendices of books, you understand why you might find tables which help define and analyze different kinds of probability distributions or a table of random digits – tables that I can find in a book on experimental design (a course I picked up ‘along the way’ … several years after finishing ‘school’). The tables even sometimes look useful!

You don’t HAVE to know these things to be an ‘engineering type’ or an ‘anything type.'

But it is handy to know something else: It is rarely feasible to test every possibility even in the presence of unlimited money, time and resources. That is why the world benefits from so many great ideas and inventions that arose from close observation and intuition. Good instincts many times trump a good education.

Now, intuition is an interesting concept because the more you observe and experience things, the more likely it is that your intuition will be correct. Intuition is basically internalized knowledge … the kind of knowledge that helps people act on instinct in crisis situations. Fortunately for all of us, in the absence of this internalized knowledge (unfortunately, the more the world knows, the less we know as a percentage), it is still possible to make good choices, come up with good ideas and accomplish extraordinary things when good frameworks exist for guidance.

One framework for engineering (and similarly many other areas) is experimental design.


    • identifying key variables (critical)

    • using all the resources and knowledge you have and can find to set up a finite number of experiments

    • using the data from those experiments to extrapolate out to an optimum solution

Why am I telling you this?

I’m telling you this because you need to know that most often, there isn’t ONE optimal solution: There are many solutions that can meet NEEDS but usually, the closer you can come to an optimum related to your particular RESOURCES and needs, the greater the economic value.

If you know that you don’t need an engineering degree to be an ‘engineering type’ or a science degree to be a ‘science type’ or an anything degree to be an ‘anything type,’ I personally think you’ll have a LOT easier and a LOT more enjoyable life: When you run across a problem, you won’t think that it’s for someone else to solve … you’ll know that the world has YOU.

    • Achievement is not always measured by degrees.

    • Sometimes people ‘see farther’ because they don’t know how everything is ‘supposed to be done.'

    • Individuals who come from differing backgrounds and disciplines can many times tell ‘the experts’ exactly what they need to know … usually when ‘the experts’ are not listening if they ever become ‘too educated’ to listen.

If you are an ‘engineering type’ (formally educated or not), I hope someone listens to you.


A speaker for a non-religious event I once attended used these words (a paraphrase of the original quote):

    • If I am not for me, who will be?

    • If I am only for me, what am I?

    • If not now, when?

I tracked down the words. They belonged to a Rabbi Hillel: I believe the speaker was Christian.

Scientists and mathematicians (regardless of faith) tend to value content.