The word ‘formula’ is a household name to many. But like many common words, defining it can put a lot of people between a rock and a hard place. So while escaping such a conundrum, I settled on one of the definitions found in the Merriam Webster’s dictionary: A formula is a customary or set form or method allowing little room for originality.
I don’t want another definition. This is the best, especially for the sake of this piece. Note that a formula allows little room for originality.
Now before we go on I feel like I need to teach/remind you of a little elementary grammar. And I may need to protect myself first. What I’m teaching here is not based on any degree in linguistics, but on what I was taught sometimes and which is fresh in my memory. In English, “a little” and “little” are two different things. If someone says for instance, that they have little food, it means it’s negligible. It cannot do anything. You may need to exercise altruism. On the other hand, if someone says they have a little food, you can expect hospitality. There is something, and they can share it. An article ‘a’ gives life to the word ‘little’ and makes it sufficient to do meaningful work.
With this in mind, we can relook at our definition of formula. A formula allows little and not a little room for originality. This simply means that a formula does not invite creativity. It has no room for ‘what if we look at it this way?’ or ‘I know another way of doing it’. A formula calls not for creativity, but obedience, perfect and perpetual. If for instance the instruction demands that you give your answer in terms of $, it is a mistake to find it’s equivalent in £. In a mathematics class for instance, if you have been asked to take pi to be 3.14, it is erroneous to use 22/7, since it translates to 3.1428571428571.
I therefore want to repeat that a formula is an invitation to obey, not to provide another option which may also work. It has little room for creativity or originality.
If you forget about algebra, and turn your attention to life, you will realize that there are formulas for almost everything. For example, the formula for success is that you do what you are supposed to do, so as to be ready to succeed when an opportunity comes your way. It may involve putting a little more effort, minding your presence and absence—being at the right place at the right time always. It is purely hardwork and commitment on one’s goal like a cheetah that focuses on a particular gazelle, ignoring the rest, even those which getting would take less effort than their target.
You want a good marriage, the formula may demand that you begin by making yourself a good option for a spouse. Work on your character that when the other person comes in, you are an asset, not a liability and a baggage. It may prove needful that you understand the difference between a boyfriend/girlfriend and husband/wife. If you are a boyfriend, don’t demand the privileges of a husband, if you are a girlfriend, don’t offer the favors of a wife. You may need to realize that a matrimonial bed is attached to a matrimony, not a romantic association. As a boyfriend, find ways of keeping the relationship sweet and memorable without demanding to act as a hubby, when you are not one yet. As a good girl, don’t allow yourself to be used secretly like contraband, you may never heal from the consequences of a failed consummated relationship.
Painfully enough, we are suffering more today, because we have accepted unwarranted creativity in this respect. The waves of sex revolution of the 1960s, have created tools with which family, especially matrimonial relationship, is being demolished. We want more liberties, less restriction, and we are almost joining the animal kingdom, where any female can go out with a ready male. No commitment, no responsibility, no restraint, but jumping around like dogs which are controlled by hypnosis. And when the deal fails and you realize that you were dealing with a dog, you declare all men to be dogs, instead of singling out your dog and vice versa!
Do you want to be a good athlete? The formula is to practice. If you practice long enough, you will be as good as the talented individual. In the world of soccer for instance, the ending decade has seen a heroic duel between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Whereas Messi is a man of talent and a little training is good enough, It has been different for Chris, who has been as good from pure hard work. An athlete must remain faithful to their gym sessions, nutrition and health concerns. However you have heard that some athletes are banned from the game because they want to marshall superhuman energy through bhang and other substances which violates the anti-doping rules. They should be reminded of the formula.
Whatever you are doing in life, respect the formula. Always resist the temptation to find an easier path to the glorious Summit, when the expected route has been mapped out. Life is always unkind to those who want to hack all institutions and systems. Time will judge too harshly those who are not careful enough to follow principles, and who go out of their way to destroy institutions so that everyone can do as they wish.
You cannot break a principle, you will break yourself instead. If you jump from the 5th floor, in an attempt to disobey gravity, the gravitational force will not change to favour your disobedience. You may not live to retell the experience. Established principles need obedience, not creativity and restlessness in a need to be different. Will you respect the formula?
“There are divinely appointed rules which, if observed, will keep human beings from disease and premature death…”– Medical Ministry p. 49