How often have you said to yourself, let’s wait for the right moment, for the right words, or for a better opportunity. Maybe I’ll wait for the boss to be in a better mood, for a brighter day, or for a more perfect setting? How often have you waited to do, say, or be something until the odds were more in your favor?
It's odd how often you hear about “the odds.” Odds are that you start each day playing the odds right after you listen to the morning weather report. “There’s a 20% chance of rain.” That’s a 1 in 5 chance that it will rain. Are those good odds? Should you wear a rain hat? Or is a long shot and you can leave the umbrella at home? The character Gaye Dawn in the movie classic Key Largo offered her opinion on odds. “I play the long shots. Betting on the favorites, what do you win? When a horse comes in for me, he pays plenty.” Long shots do pay plenty. For a reason. The odds are against them. That seemingly unassailable logic has saved many fortunes. We naturally hesitate to take chances if the odds seem against a positive outcome, and by extension, against us.
But what makes for a long shot? What makes for bad odds? Unlike, for example, the odds of winning the Power Ball jackpot (1 in 292,201,338), very few things in life have such specific, known odds. Most of the challenges in our daily lives are pretty vague, odds-speaking.
Should I apply for that promotion? What are the odds I’d get the job?
How much longer can I hold on to this car? I wonder what the odds are of making it through another winter.
Is at tonight’s dinner too early to talk about planning next year’s vacation? What are the odds anybody is even listening?
There are so many things in life we talk ourselves out of because the odds seem against us. We ask ourselves a lot of things take require us to take a chance but then quickly come up with a decision.
What are the odds I’ll get to work on time every day next week? (Hmm, I wonder if I should double down on the alarms).
What are the odds that I won’t slip on an icy sidewalk? (I better buy salt now while we’re still in grass cutting season.)
What are the odds gas prices will be up before I have to fill up the car’s gas tank? (Oh, I’ll just stop after work and be sure)
None of the things in any of the above questions has a specific known chance of happening. They might. They might not. But more importantly, something is going to come of them. They will or they will not! And now we know the exact odds of all of them happening. Everything has a chance that it will or will not happen. You will or you won’t get the promotion. You will or you won’t go on vacation. The car will last or it won’t last until spring. Everything has a 1 in 2 chance of happening. They are all 50/50!
Consider the power this can infuse into your daily life, the confidence you can have when you know up front that whatever you want from life, you have that good of a chance of succeeding. There is no reason not to consider applying for the promotion, asking a friend out to dinner, recommending that island for next year’s vacation. There are no longer “the odds” to keep you from trying. There is no more waiting for the right moment or the right words or a better opportunity. This is the better time!
Go ahead and take that chance. Play the favorite. You’ll never get better odds.