The Chances Of You Succeeding Are Slim

success chance risk

Success is both subjective and a relative term.

To some, a person is only successful if he is a multi-millionaire.

To some, a person is deemed to be successful if he gets to be interviewed on national television;

while some may respect a loving father as a truly successful man.

Whatever your definition of success may be, we can all agree on the fact that nothing great comes easy. And unfortunately, statistics prove to us that the chances of you succeeding is actually very slim.

And here's why. 



You Aren't Unique

Traditionally, most of us are brought up in an educational system where our creativity are suppressed. Not only does this take place in schools but it happens naturally in our homes since childhood.


Words of advice such as; --

"You should go to a good school, get good grades and work for a good company with prospects and benefits",

"Majoring in art will never earn you enough money",

"Everyone who is rich are evil and money will never bring you happiness";

-- all stem from good intentions, but in reality, it does more harm than good.


Today's social norm of competition and "taking-the-safe-route" culture have diminished our senses of adventure, creativity and boldness. And inevitably over time, we have become conditioned into a life of fear, uncertainty and comfort zones. Simply put, we have forgotten that rules are sometimes there to be broken and that true personality begins when comparison leaves off.



Related Article: 3 Reason Why Unreasonable People Are Successful

Below is a must read passage from the book 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' written by Robert Kiyosaki:

If you’re the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you. If you’re that kind of person, you’ll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for some event that never happens. Then, you die a boring old man. You’ll have lots of friends who really like you because you were such a nice hard-working guy. You spent a life playing it safe, doing the right things. But the truth is, you let life push you into submission. Deep down you were terrified of taking risks. You really wanted to win, but the fear of losing was greater than the excitement of winning. Deep inside, you and only you will know you didn’t go for it. You chose to play it safe.
— Robert Kiyosaki from Rich Dad Poor Dad


Yes, I get it.

Phrases such as "we should take the road less travelled" are cliché, after all, it's easier said than done. 

Then how can we actually stop comparing ourselves to others and start living a truly successful life?

The answer to this is risk-taking. Not just once or twice, but multiple times!



Why Risk-Takers Live A Fuller Life

risk taking management

Taking risks is one of the major characteristics we need to become confident. As mentioned in the article "4 Actionable Steps To Boost Confidence", a good analogy is the process of learning to ride a bicycle for the very first time.

When you first learn to ride a bicycle, you fall down, over and over. Your confidence may be crushed on your first few attempts, but as you continue to take risks with that next pedal, you realise you can ride. Soon, you are riding your bicycle without any falls, feeling that breeze against your face. You embrace your triumph, you feel good and you become confident. 

Everything in life requires a degree of risk-taking and risk management in order to achieve something. As mentioned before, success is a relative term and your definition of success is very likely to be different to mine. But it doesn't matter how you define success, the bottom line is that, if you don't try, you will never succeed

Read and consider the situation below and you will understand that frequent risk-taking is everything. 


"Losing sucks, but not losing might suck even more.

Consider this gamble:

I flip a coin, if it's heads, you win $100. If it's tails, you lose $100.

Would you take it? Most people will say no.

How about heads, you win $200, tails you lose $100?

Again, most people say no."


The problem does not lie in our natural aversion to risks, but how we view these risks as a single event.

If you had the second deal, heads you win $200, tails you lost $100, and you could repeat this bet 100 times, would you accept?

Most people say "yes".

Richard Thaler (author of The Making of Behavioural Economics - Misbehaving) actually calculated that 100 of these bets has an expected return of $5,000, with only a 1/2,300 chance of losing any money at all. The chance of you losing money more than $1,000 is 1/62,000!


The only way you can ever take 100 attractive bets is by first taking the first one, and it is only thinking about the bet in isolation that fools you into turning it down.
— Richard Thaler


The very same principle applies in our every day life. When we look at the statistics of succeeding in a singular event, it's very slim.


Statistics show you trends, they can’t predict your life. Likewise, consider that the odds have always been against greatness. If one were to decide on a career path just by the odds of financial success, we would have no movie stars, authors, poets, or musicians. The odds of any one person becoming a professional, self-supporting musician are very low—and yet turn on the radio and you hear hundreds of them. The odds were against the Beatles, Elvis, and the Grateful Dead, too. They could have been ‘scientific’ about the whole thing and chosen more reasonable career paths, and what a loss for the world that would have been!

If you succeed, the odds are then meaningless. Any path may have a 2 percent success rate, yet if you’re in that 2 percent, there’s a 100 percent chance of success for you. The long shots are often the most rewarding
— Bernard Roth from The Achievement Habit



It's Your Choice

risk taking overcoming fear

Throughout life, we are faced with many opportunities and risks, that we have a choice of either taking or turning down. 

Your time on earth is limited and so are your risk-opportunities. So next time you're at the crossroads of making a difficult decision, always remember that taking risks is the only way you have a chance of actually achieving something worthwhile. 

It's not rocket science, statistically, the more risks you take, the higher chances you have to become great.



Further Reading: Why Unreasonable People Are Successful