Tag Archives: Friends

Cage Fights, Roulette and the Law of Large Numbers

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When you enter the octagon (speaking metaphorically, but maybe literally), it’s just you and your opponent. Only your strength, skill, speed, luck, stamina, cunning, toughness and courage will help you find victory.

If you play roulette, the chance that the ball will land on red or black is the same…a little over 47%. Remember the green 0 is in there to mess things up.

But, what if you only have the time and money to play roulette for ten spins?  Will the distribution of red and black numbers come out to just over 47% each?  Maybe, but probably not.

What if you could spin the wheel 1,000 times?  Would the distribution of red and black approach 47% each?  That’s much more likely.  In fact, the Law of Large Numbers says as much.

What about that cage fight?  Theoretically, you have a 50% chance of winning, all things being equal.

Of course, all things are never equal in a cage fight (or real life).

The other guy is meaner, stronger, faster, and more skilled.  You didn’t sleep well last night, you have that nagging knee injury that always shows itself at the wrong time.  You don’t punch very hard, and you’ve heard that he has a great ground game.  You have no idea what having a great ground game means, but it sounds dangerous, and that was the sound of the bell.

How’s that 50% chance looking?  More like 5%, or maybe 1%.

What if you could fight the guy 1,000 times?  Would your chances improve?  Would you ever approach the 50% mark?  Would you survive to find out?  Probably not.

The good news is we don’t have to count on the Law of Large Numbers.  And, while it’s nice to say that we can count on ourselves, it’s even better to know that we can count on our family, friends, associates, co-workers, teammates, competitors (yes, indeed), and countless others to help us achieve our victories.

You don’t have family, friends, associates, co-workers, teammates, competitors or countless others who can help you?

Then, your cage match is going to be all about how you become one or more of these things for someone else.  Look around for who you can help.  Who can you befriend?  Who can you support?  Who can you encourage?

In life, the largest number in the Law of Large Numbers is you and your tireless and relentless effort to make a difference for someone else.

Each of us has our own cage match to fight, often with ourselves.  Wouldn’t it be great to see what you can do to help someone else win theirs?

Trust me.  You’ll find your own path to victory along the way.

P.S.  There’s not much anyone can do to help you win at roulette, but I always recommend 32 red.

 

Photo Credit:  Unsplash, Joshua Clay

 

Allies, Competitors, and Enemies…It’s All About You

Human nature dictates that we will have allies, competitors, and enemies.

Allies agree with us. They’re willing to work with us toward a common goal.

Competitors don’t agree with our goals, and work against them. Competitors are a fact of life. The challenges of a strong competitor drive us to perform at levels we didn’t realize we had. Competition makes us stronger. There are winners and losers in every competition. If we lose, the lessons of that loss can make us stronger for the next competition.

Enemies are an entirely different matter. They aren’t just against our goals. They’re against us, personally. Winning the competition, whether it’s a battle of dollars, a battle for territory, or a battle for the hearts and minds of others, isn’t enough for an enemy. They want us to lose the competition, and be eliminated from future opportunities to compete.

These roles are often in flux. Allies can become competitors. Competitors can become enemies.

The transitions are usually a result of our actions. If we operate with life-giving values like honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, mutual respect, empathy, fairness, and a pursuit of mutual benefit, great things will happen.

Our allies will remain allies. Competitors are much less likely to become our enemies. They may even become new allies in the future.

Operating without life-giving values unleashes a torrent of negativity. You’ll have trouble keeping allies. Competitors will become enemies. Long-term success will slip from your grasp.

What about the people who don’t know you (yet)? The people you’d like to meet. The new customers you’d like to have. The new talent you hope to recruit to your company.

Will you create allies, competitors, or enemies? That all depends on you, and the values you live.

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” –Aristotle