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A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind.
-- Robert Bolton
 

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What are the odds?

The only time probability matters is when you have no influence or control over the situation, such as in the random roll of dice or the spin of a roulette wheel. For everything else, it’s not the odds that make the real difference; it’s what you actually do.

What are the odds of succeeding in a particular profession given your background? What are the odds contracting a particular disease?

Actually, for things like these the odds are really meaningless. Any specific outcome depends on your individual situation and on what you choose to do about it.

Those who make the commitment to succeed, and do whatever is necessary, will reach success regardless of what the odds might say. Those who depend solely on the odds to keep them in good health, and don’t do anything about it themselves, will not have very good health.

Instead of pursuing things that will merely improve your chances of success, go directly toward the success itself. Keep in mind that the specific results you get are based on your own thoughts and actions, not on the statistical averages.

Rather than letting the odds give you a false sense of confidence or a wall of unwarranted fear, focus on the things you can actually control. Take full responsibility for your own outcomes, and you’ll end up going precisely where you choose to go.

— Ralph Marston

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