The Odds of Success

Never Let the Odds quote imageA recent discussion about “the odds of success” led to some interesting statistics as well as a real reality check. People who declare a dream or seemingly outlandish goal are often told, “Do you know the odds of you doing that?” If you’ve ever attempted something outside the so-called norm, you’ve no doubt heard something similar. The point of the objection (as though their opinion really mattered) is that the “odds” of you accomplishing your stated goal are so low you might as well not even try because you’re virtually guaranteed to fail.

Well, before I address that objection let’s look at those statistics I mentioned.

  • Getting pregnant from a one-night stand: 1 in 20
  • Getting struck by lightning: 1 in 10,000
  • Dying in an airplane crash: 1 in 355,318
  • Being dealt a royal flush in a given hand of poker: 1 in 655,750
  • Dying from a flesh-eating bacteria: 1 in 1 million
  • Winning the California Super Lotto Jackpot: 1 in 18 million.

Those are some pretty outlandish odds, right? Well, now for the reality check.

“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”

The truth is that your achieving a goal is not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of persistence and determination. Think about it. If you want something bad enough and work at it long enough, you can achieve it.

The legendary author Napoleon Hill once said,

“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve, regardless of how many times you may have failed in the past or how lofty your hopes may be.”

Watch this short video below to hear Mr. Napoleon Hill explain this in more detail.

The “odds of success” don’t predetermine your likelihood of achieving their dream. All the “odds” tell you is how many people gave up on theirs! Network marketing professional Tim Sales calls the “odds” claim an irrelevant one. He explains it this way:

“If I want to get fit, what are the odds that I actually will? Huh? That seems like an irrelevant question, doesn’t it? Why? Because ‘odds’ have nothing to do with me getting off the couch and tossing the potato chips in the trash. ‘Odds’ are incorrectly used when performance can alter the odds.”

He goes on to use the example of rolling a die. There’s no “performance” involved, and the odds are one in six of it landing on any given number. Likewise, flipping a coin has a fifty percent chance of coming up “heads.” It’s the same thing when you buy a lottery ticket (that’s my clever association with the photo image at the start of this article). The ‘odds’ come in to play because there is absolutely no skill or performance involved that can affect the outcome.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, playing golf (or any other sport) involves performance. When you’re building a business performance is involved, as well, and “odds” are irrelevant. Like Tim Sales says,

“Performance is – and always has been – based on knowledge and training.”

That’s how any person gets better at any skill or skill set. Your actions and results dictate whether you achieve your goals. Nothing else matters. In Anthony Robbins’ seminars he teaches the audience to internalize and maintain a positive strength, by declaring loudly,

“Now I am the voice! I will lead, not follow. I will believe, not doubt. I will create, not destroy! I am a force for good. I am a leader! Defy the odds! Set a new standard! Step up!”

Now that’s a powerful affirmation! It also reinforces the point that the odds are irrelevant. Once we decide and believe in our minds that we can and will achieve something, and take action on those beliefs, we set the odds. Nothing else matters.

So the next time someone tells you that the odds are against you achieving your goals, look them in the eye and tell them “odds” have nothing to do with it. Another way to put might be to say, “I set the odds.”

Originally published on





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