Correlations and t-tests and degrees of freedom – oh my!

I have officially hit a brick wall and it appears that somebody has taken my sledgehammer.

As you might be aware, I’m juggling my work as an author, coach, presenter and self-development specialist with completing a full-time Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) degree to support my change of career focus following a lengthy career in the contact centre industry.

I’m what you might call a creative type – I love to write and I’m most excited when I’m doing something that gets my creative juices flowing. Which is why I am now, halfway through my degree, banging my head against a wall – because I’ve hit the part of the degree that involves serious maths (AKA Research Methods and Statistics).

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not a total moron when it comes to maths. I can easily do quick additions and percentages in my head and can work out more complex problems of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication with a pen and paper. Yet mention anything beyond that and my eyes glaze over and I fall into a trance.

At high school, I despised mathematics and, although I performed reasonably well, I couldn’t wait to drop the more complex side of the subject as soon as I was able to in Year 11, when you could nominate to do just basic maths or more advanced maths – I went for absolute bare-bones basics, yet even that irritated the hell out of me. When in my future life beyond high school was I ever going to be walking along a street, see a ladder against a wall, and say to myself, “Oh my! I really must find out what degree that ladder is leaning at! And what about its hypotenuse…”? Never, that’s when! I am 39 years old and I have never once, to this day, needed to whip out my set square or protractor in public.

Yet here I am, at an impasse. If I want this degree, I am going to have to push past my struggles – intellectual and emotional – in order to get my head around this stuff. The words of a highly-respected past manager bounce around in my head: “Every difficulty we face is something we need to learn; if you don’t learn the lesson the first time, it’s going to keep on rearing its head over and over again, in different situations, until you learn what you need to learn – and it will usually become more and more challenging to deal with the longer you avoid it…”

So I, dear reader, am putting a stop to the overwhelming frustration I am feeling. I’ve found a couple of back-to-basics books to help me get my head around Psychology Statistics (yes, there’s a ‘For Dummies’ guide on that…!) and if I then find that I’m not where I need to be in terms of confidence and competence, I’ll find a tutor. When in doubt, try something completely different. At the very least, it should help to alleviate the headaches caused by banging my head against the wall over and over again. Wish me luck!


My forthcoming book, ‘Depression? F*** Depression!’ will be released worldwide on 28 October 2015* and is now available for pre-order at my website: All pre-orders help to raise much-needed funds to promote the book upon launch, so please be generous and purchase a pre-order copy now! Pre-orders available for eBook or limited edition signed print versions. Thank you!

*Available on iTunes/iBooks and Amazon Kindle as an eBook, and in print from Amazon (including Amazon Europe)

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