Statistics, Lighting, and Hard Work

Have you ever had a big dream (start a non-profit, run a business, change something in culture) and someone offers you some free advice like “you’re more likely to get hit by lightning than for [that thing] to happen”?

Besides being annoying, there’s one problem with this idea. Yes, it’s fairly unlikely you’ll get hit by lighting in your day-to-day life without any changes. But if you climb to the top of a skyscraper with a 35 foot metal pole, you can dramatically┬áincrease your chances. If you fly a kite in an open field during a thunderstorm, you can also increase your chances.

This may seem like a dumb analogy, but stick with me: Statistically, it is highly unlikely that you’ll get different outcomes from doing what everyone else is doing. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. But as soon as you start doing things that NO ONE ELSE is doing, you increase your likelihood of success greatly. In a year’s time in the midwest, I can almost guarantee that you could get hit by lighting if you try. In fact, you could probably get hit by 2 or 3 lighting bolts in just one year! You just have to do those things that no one else is doing.

Although I do not recommend trying to get hit by lighting, you can increase the likelihood of your dreams coming true by doing certain things. Position yourself properly, build a brand, work hard. Do things that other people aren’t doing and you’ll position yourself for success.

Don’t let statistics be a cop-out. As long as you’re swimming with the current you’ll be part of the statistic. As soon as you try something new, you’re much more likely to be an outlier.