Today, be resolved to view potentially frustrating situations in a humorous way. If something trivial goes wrong, just laugh.
Love yehuda Lave
You may have heard of our "Large Number" difficulty. We can all relate to numbers like 5, 100, 30,000 or so, but when the numbers reach a billion or so, we sort of go blank. I have found a rather simple and effective to make understanding large numbers easier – I remove some of the zeros.
For example, the US deficit is about $1.4 trillion. That's $1,400,000,000,000. Neither you nor I nor any other normal human being can "get our mind around" that number. Meanwhile, congress is discussing spending cuts of $50 billion or so. That number is too big to comprehend, too.
So, let's do the zero-ectomy thing and put these figures in perspective. I'll remove nine zeroes from the numbers. The US deficit becomes $1,400. That's number most of us can relate to – house rent, car payment, wife's monthly bill for new shoes.
Now, congress is thinking of cutting $50 billion, or $50,000,000,000. Removing nine zeroes again, we get $50.
So, to put the deficit and spending cuts in perspective, the US government has a $1,400 deficit, and they are quibbling over $50. That means that if they could miraculously hold government spending where it is, and cut out $50 billion of Washington spending every year, we'd be out of debt in 28 years. Sounds good!
Oh, not quite. There's interest to pay. The truth is, we would go deeper into debt each and every year because of the interest. Even at 5% (ridiculously low) the interest on $1,400 is $70 per year, so $50 won't even pay the annual interest. After five years, we'll owe over $1,500!
Think of it like your credit card. You owe $1,400 and you pay $50 per year. That does not pay the interest, so while you pay, your debt will increase every year until you are bankrupt. Same goes for Uncle Sam.