“Statistics Anxiety” is Holding Back Your Career—3 Ways to Conquer Your Fear

Oliver Franz and Joshua Zable | 13 June, 2023

Topics: Education Hub, Blended Learning

You’re probably wondering what “statistics anxiety” is and what it has to do with you. If you don't think using statistics is part of your job, you’ll think and question how it can be holding back your career.  Even if you use some statistical analysis regularly, you still may be impacted by “statistics anxiety.”  

In today’s data-driven world, where spreadsheets reign supreme, a lack of statistical knowledge can hold you back from reaching your full potential. And for those with some knowledge, if you’re not expanding your knowledge of new or more advanced methods (like machine learning, for example), you may be missing out on significant opportunities. Read on to see how.  

 

What Does Using Spreadsheets Have to Do with Statistics? 

Now, you might be thinking, “what’s the connection between spreadsheets and statistics?” Perhaps you’re intrigued because you’re one of the millions of people who use spreadsheets on a weekly basis. 

Initially designed as a tool for organizing and displaying data, spreadsheets have come a long way. They now offer mathematical functions, built-in financial calculations and even some statistical capabilities (like standard deviation). Because of their widespread (and ease of) use, spreadsheets have become most professional’s go-to “data analysis” tools, despite significant limitations.  

Sure, you can enhance your spreadsheet’s statistical prowess by investing in additional tools and features. These solutions, however, aren’t purpose-built for statistical analysis. As a result, they tend to perform slower, lack comprehensive options and don’t have the guided tools needed for accurate analysis.  

Most importantly, however, is the lack of support. If you’re going to tackle your statistics anxiety, support that can actually help you with your data analysis is priceless.  

 

Why Are Statistics So Important Anyway? 

Statistics blogger Jim Frost wrote a whole blog on The Importance of Statistics, and makes two crucial points:  

  1. Learning from data without jumping to incorrect conclusions: In an era where decisions and opinions are increasingly influenced by data, understanding statistics empowers you to glean insights accurately and avoid making faulty assumptions. 
  1. Critically evaluating analysis quality: Statistics enables you to assess the validity and reliability of analyses presented to you by others. This critical skill allows you to make informed judgments and avoid being swayed by misleading information. 

Here’s a simple example. Someone shows you a bar chart with two bars. Bar 1 is taller than Bar 2. Is there a difference between the two? If you think the answer is an obvious “yes,” then you’d be mistaken. The answer is “it depends,” and only a quick statistical analysis can tell you if there’s actually a true difference between the two.  

If this concept seems perplexing or you’re unsure of how to run such an analysis, don’t worry! That’s precisely why we’ve crafted this blog post—to help you overcome statistics anxiety and provide you with guidance every step of the way.  

 

If Statistics Make You Better at Your Job, Then What’s Stopping You? Anxiety.

Are you ready to jump into statistics? Probably not. But why?  

Probably because statistics can be a daunting subject, causing fear and uncertainty. Research indicates that up to 80% of college students feel overwhelmed by statistical concepts, and this anxiety often persists into their professional lives. In fact, multiple research papers have validated that “statistics anxiety is real” and have even developed ways to measure it to help teach students. 

 

IF YOU USE SOME STATISTICS, ANXIETY IS STILL LIKELY SLOWING YOU DOWN

Many Minitab users are quite comfortable with statistics, yet they often perform the same methods and operations repeatedly.  With so many different methods available, including machine learning, the time to expand your skill set is now. If you do measurement system analysis, explore our module to learn new methods.  If you’re using regression, why not expand your predictive analytics tools to include more advance methods?  If you’re a continuous improvement professional, are you applying your knowledge of statistics outside of quality to areas like supply chain or customer contact centers?

 

Navigating the Challenges of Statistical Anxiety 

Minitab, the authority on statistics, understands this persistent fear and aims to empower individuals and organizations to conquer it. That’s why we provide individuals and organizations with the knowledge, skills and solutions needed to harness the power of statistics effectively. Here are three ways you can begin to make better business decisions by conquering your fear of statistics.

1. Use Curiosity to Explore


If you find yourself in the curiosity stage, where you want to explore statistics without diving in fully, there are many different videos, articles and resources out there for you to explore.  

If you’re looking for a structured approach, however, Minitab has a resource and service library that is an excellent starting point. Our statistical software showcases its impact on different industries, problem-solving capabilities and process streamlining.  

Maybe you work in healthcare and are curious about how statistics can be used to reduce patient wait time. Or you work in the automotive industry and want to see how statistics can help improve product quality. No matter your industry or role, Minitab is a great place to start. 

View Resources2. Start Learning!


If you're ready to confront your statistics anxiety head-on and delve deeper into learning, Minitab's Education Hub is the ideal resource. Designed for self-paced learners, the Education Hub offers a comprehensive online learning platform. Whether you're seeking to grasp fundamental concepts or advanced techniques like Predictive Analytics or Designs of Experiments, the Education Hub provides high-quality learning resources tailored to your needs. 

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Discover how the Education Hub can solve your organization's most pressing training challenges. Download our latest one-pager to learn more. 

Download Now3. Start Training and Applying What You Learn


If you recognize both the need for understanding statistics and want to accelerate the application of statistics to your business, Minitab's Strategic Blended Learning approach is your solution.  

Blended learning integrates online training, on-site professional development and access to the exclusive Education Hub. Recognizing that effective learning is not one-size-fits-all, this multifaceted approach meets learners exactly where they are, accommodating their unique needs and preferences. 

By embracing blended learning, individuals benefit from the flexibility and convenience of online training, the expertise and guidance of professional on-site professional development and training and the comprehensive resources available through the Education Hub. With this holistic approach, Minitab helps learners and professionals conquer statistical anxiety and achieve proficiency in a way that suits them best. 

 

Minitab Can Help 

Statistical anxiety may persist, but it doesn't have to hold you or your organization back. Minitab, the trusted authority on statistics, offers a range of resources and training programs designed to empower individuals and organizations to overcome challenges.  

From exploring the possibilities with Minitab's intuitive resource library, to diving deep into the Education Hub's self-paced learning platform or embracing the comprehensive Strategic Blended Learning approach, Minitab equips you with the tools and knowledge to become data-literate, overcome statistics anxiety and to unleash the power of data for transformative outcomes.  

Ready to Take the First Step?

Talk to Minitab