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BoldTrek » Blog Archive » Odds are…

Odds are…

An image on the news last night got me thinking.  In Nevada, hundreds of people stood in lines several blocks long waiting patiently for the chance to buy a ticket for the 355 million dollar Mega Bucks lottery game. Apparently this was a snapshot of similar scenes around the country.  $355 million.  Wow.  Just some time in line and a few bucks and then…. Dreamland!  Odds = 1: 176 million.  Eh….

“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands

but in seeing with new eyes.”  – Marcel Proust

Years ago while on an escape from Ohio to a week of hiking in the Smokies, I stopped for gas in a tiny town in West Virginia.  After filling up I went into the small shop to pay.  Inside I was welcomed by a large lottery display and a polite young cashier.  I rarely buy lottery tickets but, heck, I was on vacation so I asked the cashier for 5 bucks worth.

“Wow,” I said, “190 million bucks if I win.  Yeah, but what are the odds?  A zillion to one?”  Without hesitation, and in slow southern cadence, the 18-or-so year old replied, “Well, ma’am, the way I see it, you got a 50/50 chance.  You either win… or you lose.”

I have never forgotten that conversation.

Yeah, entrepreneurs, parents, homeowners, business leaders… I suppose all of us… have a finite set of resources and we likely spend a chunk of time every day calculating risk, ROI, etc.  “Should I invest in this? Spend time, money, energy on that?  What if I lose?  What do I get?…”  Sound familiar?

No offense to my friends who embrace risk management, spreadsheets, decision trees and the like… but it is simple really.  We have a 50/50 chance.  We either win or we lose.  We either make it happen or we don’t.

Maybe if we looked at possibilities around us and saw a 50/50 chance of success we would leap boldly more often.  Imagine what is possible if we did.

Well… we either will… or we won’t.  It’s that simple.

5 Responses to “Odds are…”

  1. . Judith Delaney Says:

    Thank you as always! This is a jolt of reality for me as I plan my goals for this year.

  2. Jim Snyder Says:

    Thanks Sue. I love the 50/50 perspective. I believe that all folks have a risk tolerance for life, and that is may be far beyond what they currently feel, or allow themselves to accept – myself included.

    On the flip of a coin, would you bet $1 to make $5?
    Would you bet $10 to make $50?
    $100 to make $500?
    $1000 to make $5000?

    At some point we all stop short of betting our life savings to quadruple it. However, the odds are rarely that punitive in life. I’m playing the 50/50 odds with my team more often! Thanks.

  3. Chris Sheesley Says:

    I love it! What a great way to look at life. It reminds me of the card I carried around in my wallet during my single years to overcome intorversion. It read, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

  4. ray Says:

    really like this one… nice shift in the speed bump — in the end, you either do or you don’t. in the clasic words from a little green guy: do or do not, there is no try.

    love it!

    //ray

  5. Kaspar Murer Says:

    50/50 chance! I love it, and very timely advice :-)

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