Best Odds of Success

beat the oddsThere’s one primary reason I’ve been successful in certain areas of my life. It’s this:

I only do what has the highest odds of working.

One of the great fallacies of life is that success is about beating the odds or being the exception to the rule. Nothing could be more wrong. The vast, VAST majority of self-made successful people became that way because they chose (consciously or subconsciously) to do things that had a high probability of success. Only a very tiny percentage of successful people became successful because they had a 1% chance of achieving success and somehow beat the odds.

Let’s say your goal is to make two million dollars in less than 10 years. Let’s also assume you sing well. What are the odds of you becoming a world-famous pop singer? They’re extremely tiny, no matter how well you sing. I’d say it’s less than 1-2%. So if your goal was to make two million dollars as a famous singer, this would be a terrible idea.

It would also be a terrible idea if you got job in the corporate world with that goal. What are the odds of you making two million dollars at a job working for someone else? Again, they’re teeny tiny. I’d say it’s again less than about 1-2%.

Let’s instead say you analyzed the odds, and made your decision accordingly. Let’s think say you started your own business. You sold a high-margin, high-demand product or service to a growing, vibrant niche market within a growing industry, even if you emotionally wanted to sell something else. You read 150 business books written by people who started from scratch and quickly became millionaires, and did exactly what they recommended. You worked 8-10 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, totally focused on this business. You focused your efforts on marketing and sales. In both your business and your personal life, you carefully controlled your expenses and kept them as low as possible. Any excess money you made, you either put back into marketing or sales, or you invested.

NOW, what are your odds of success of making your two million within 10 years? They’re actually pretty decent. I’d say they’re at least 40%, but they’re probably 60% or more. We could argue about the specific number, which is based on many factors, but the point is that the odds are now in your favor.

I never, ever try to beat the odds. Instead, I play the odds. In my personal life, in my business life, in my financial life, even when I play blackjack, I never try to be the exception to the rule. I actually do the exact opposite: I set a goal, identify the actions necessary for the highest odds of success, then even if I don’t emotionally agree with it, I get right into that zone, and stay there for as long as it takes. Then, surprise, surprise, I usually hit my big goals.

Never try to beat the odds. Never try to be the exception to the rule. That leads to a life of frustration. Instead, find out the easiest, fastest, and most probable way to get what you want, and follow that.

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