I recently read an article on “finding your dream partner” which annoyed the shit out of me.
The author, a Ph.D nice guy (whose book I actually like a lot), shares what seems like a compelling piece of advice:
…in love, as with genies, we only get three wishes, says relationship expert Ty Tashiro. The more traits you pick that are above the average, the lower the statistical odds that you’ll find a match. And three is the tipping point.
Imagine you have a room of 100 men. If you choose mediocrity — the trifecta of average income, looks and height — you’ll have, statistically, only 13 suitors out of 100 to choose from. Increase your criteria to an attractive man at least 6-feet tall who makes $87,000, and you’re left with only one.
Add another trait — funny, kind, even a political affiliation — and it becomes statistically impossible to find him out of 100 men.
Basically, Ty is saying, “throw away your bullshit lists, and be more realistic.” By itself.. it’s not horrible advice.
Here’s the problem.
Anyone who has done anything remotely exceptional in the world, deliberately has chosen one idea instead:
Fuck the statistics.
Following Statistics is the Fastest Path to Becoming One
A few questions for you:
What are the statistical chances of being born a human versus something else in the universe?
According to this dude on the Harvard blog, the chances of the right sperm meeting the right egg is 1 in 400 quadrillion.
I was a horrible math student (loved biology), so I don’t know what that means, but it sounds fucking tiny.
For those of you born in the USA, what are the chances of that?
If you’re born in the USA, the land of opportunity, you have achieved a miracle: <5% of people on the planet are.
What about being someone who was born exposed to the internet?
I have no clue, but considering that until the 1990s, a full 100% of humans that have ever walked the face of the planet have never had access to the internet, I’d say you’re pretty lucky.
What that means is simple: for most of you reading this, you have gotten here despite remarkable, almost impossible odds.
You are a miracle.
You are statistically incredibly unlikely to exist – and yet, here you are. Right there.
You Are Not A Statistic – Why Live Like One?
The same “be realistic” bullshit speech we endure from our friends and family as we age, is the same one that keeps us from taking good risks in life.
Do you know the dozens (maybe hundreds) of people I’ve spoken to now, who can tell me what they feel about their job (e.g. it fucking sucks), and yet they stay there for years and years because their mind tells them to?
I just don’t know if I’ll get a job this good again.
I don’t know if I’ll find a girl/guy like this again.
The chances of me finding something like this are so small…
We feed ourself the same bullshit, statistic story, instead of doing the only thing that matters – going after what we fucking want!
We tell ourselves the logical stuff – this will never work because < story >. I’ll never get that job because < statistic >. I don’t know if this relationship could work out, or if I want to do long-distance because < another story >.
We tell ourselves that it’s so risky and dangerous in the middle east, or Asia, or some other place we want to travel, so rather than traveling, we don’t go.
You Won’t Even Live (or Act) if You Look at the Stats
There’s a saying I heard once that immediately resonated:
The most successful entrepreneur that ever lived is in the grave.
Because that person never had the guts to go after their dream, typically because of some story they told themselves about why it wouldn’t work out.
The reality is that if you look at life logically all the time:
… That 99% of businesses fail.
… That only 1% of people are your type.
… That you don’t know anyone who quit their job to travel the world.
…You’ll never try.
Because your life has already shown you that these things are impossible, because that’s all you know to be true – the statistics.
And yet, I’m sure you can find someone who has succeeded at all of them.
Are they really lucky, the anomaly, or did they just tell themselves another story: I won’t be a statistic?
Sometimes it’s just a different story they want to tell with their lives. Sometimes a person decides that they don’t want to be a statistic – and that’s all it takes not to become one.
There is Chance, Luck and Forces Hard to Predict
Two years ago, my closest friend started telling me about some bullshit called “affirmations and visualizations.”
Previously he could’ve sworn that he thought they were a crock of shit.
One day, he comes up to me and goes, “dude, we have to talk. You won’t believe this.”
I was pretty confused what his mania was all about, but he continued.
“So I started visualizing this girl that I was really interested in… and I shit you not, I found her.”
A few months later, he goes, “remember that new apartment I was visualizing? I met this guy at a conference I was speaking at, and it turns out his dad is a landlord…in that same building. They got me a deal, for $300 a month cheaper too. Crazy shit man.”
After I endured a few of these too-good-to-be-true stories, I started doing it on my own.
The first time I did it, it was because I wanted a serious relationship, The other aspcts of my life were going well, but I wanted to find a girl I really cared about (and vice versa). So each night, I wrote down and recited my affirmations.
About a month later, one night before Christmas, I was out with friends at a small party at a friend’s house.
We all went into someone’s room to watch a quick Youtube video, and when I came out, two beautiful girls were standing there, girls that had apparently just arrived and wondered where everyone was.
One of those girls I fell in love with, and we dated for 5 years. I still don’t know how – after wanting that for a decade – she showed up within a month of me starting this.
The reality is that for many great things in your life, they come from forces you cannot predict with statistics alone.
Plain, dumb luck.
You can’t factor those in… but they happen, every day. If you take the mathematical approach to life, you miss out on the magic.
Building an Incredible Life Is About Ignoring What is “Acceptable” for 99% of the World
Do you think Elon Musk woke up ten years ago and thought:
“Hmm, honey, what do you think are the chances that I can send people to Mars in the next 50 years?”
Before Bannister ran the 4-minute mile, did anyone do calculations that .000015% of the world’s population could do it? I don’t think so. He sure as fuck didn’t.
People just assumed no one could.
The truth is that creating an exceptional life is about ignoring what is conventional, realistic, statistically likely, and “plausible.”
Anyone who has done anything incredible in the world has ignored the statistics, and instead, created new ones.
What’s acceptable for 99% of the world is getting a 9-5, sucking it up, bitching and moaning, and doing that for 40 years.
What’s acceptable for 99% of the world is settling for a person who has “no more than 3 traits you really like…” and then making it work.
What’s acceptable for 99% of the world is traveling once a year, crying about how much money you spent, then sitting back in a fucking cubicle as your soul darkens each day.
I’m not saying if you’re a 32 year old woman whose clock is ticking you shouldn’t be realistic – I’m just saying there are more metrics to life than just statistical analysis – especially for the important shit.
Magic Is Real – Can Your Statistics Account for That?
There’s no way to really predict the magic of life.
The chance encounter with the guy or girl you marry at the coffee shop.
The random ticket you win to a favorite show.
Hitting the jackpot in your business and seeing it skyrocket without much effort.
No one can predict these things… but they happen every day. (The opposite happens too).
So you really want to sit around and do calculations thinking, “Well, shit, I shouldn’t be so picky, or go here, and there, because chances are my dream dude/girl won’t be there.”
Literally every fucking relationship I’ve been in with an amazing girl came from an incredibly unusual, chance encounter.
But they came because I did something, outside of the realm of statistics.
Launching my book was another adventure into statistics. Look at the math on being a successful author, from this author here:
The average book sells 3000 copies in its lifetime (Publishers Weekly, 2006).
The average traditionally published book which sells 3,000 in its entire lifetime in print only sells about 250-300 copies its first year.
The average digital only author-published book sells 250 copies in its lifetime.
I’ve sold way more than 3,000 copies of my book. I sell 250+ copies per month now. So that means I’m waaaaay up in the upper eschelons of being a “successful author.” And I’m self-published, so those numbers are way more impressive, since I’ve had to do 100% of the work myself.
Look at me, so special, not at all a statistic.
Well, congratu-fucking-lations, it’s because I did some legwork to learn how to write a book, do sales, and learn how marketing works. If you want to be average, then shit, yes you can plan your life like a statistic, because it will be one. Model the average and you get average. Think average and you get average. Act average and you fill an average life.
But if you take even five minutes to think about how you can be the exception, your life can change in a big way.
Living By “The Stats” Means You’ll Just Become Another Stat – Average
But I can guarantee one thing – if you live by statistics, you’ll become one.
Yet another person in a miserable fucking job because you heard the stat that almost all entrepreneurs fail.
Yet another person who settles for a decent person rather than a great one.
Yet another Walter Mitty dreaming about sailing the world and exploring rather than booking the flight
All I’m saying is that anyone who changed the world, once thought to themselves, “fuck the statistics.”
And it worked.
It’s the people who don’t settle who get what they want. Most of the world is too busy thinking those things are unrealistic, so they don’t even try.
If you live by statistics – you’ll never walk out your fucking door and live your life.