Posts Tagged ‘Possibility’

When Probability IS Your Friend

June 15, 2022

I’ve talked before about my grandmother and her ability to see possibilities, and I’ve alluded that this is a trait that I share. I’ve also talked a little bit about knife safety.

Today those worlds collided as I, a little too casually, grabbed a knife and instantly foresaw how if just the wrong number of things happened in just the wrong way, I could do myself a serious mischief. Pausing, I adjusted my grip on the knife and said to myself, “That would have been a stupid way to die.”

That’s the good side of seeing possibilities.

The bad side is that after I said that I also briefly foresaw in unnecessary detail the trauma such self-inflicted mischief would have had on the rest of the household. That’s the point I had to remind myself just how unlikely such a scenario would be, and that I’ve already corrected the problem in any event.

Good thing I’m used to this.

Two Things I Want My Son To Learn Early (Part Three)

May 22, 2020

Possibility is not probability.

In other words, just because something can happen, that doesn’t mean it will. A “million to one shot” literally means something so unlikely that you could, on average, attempt it one million times, and only succeed once. Yes, that “on average” part is important, and I have indeed seen some wildly improbable things come to pass. Never the less, understanding that it’s possible you could succeed on your first try, or still be struggling after two million (or more) attempts will go a long way in helping you make good decisions . . . or at least help you keep your bad decisions in proper prospective.

Understanding this is super-important to me for . . . reasons I have already mentioned.

I Even Do The Accent

May 13, 2020

What I almost always say:  It’s true we can’t discount that possibility until we have more data.

What I am all too often thinking while I say it:  It’s NOT a tumor!

Probability Isn’t ALWAYS Your Friend

April 3, 2018

Some time back I mentioned my grandmother and her fears.  What I didn’t mention specifically then was that I saw her fears eat her alive sometimes because she was imaginative enough to see possibilities, but not grounded enough to see probabilities.

That’s why the ability to make that distinction is so important to me.

Like my grandmother, I don’t like being in front of windows, particularly when it’s dark outside and I’m backlit, because I feel like I’m just making the shot a little too easy to make.  But unlike my grandmother, I can recognize that feeling as an imaginative possibility, not a probability that a shot is actually about to be fired.

With that said, I once had a great-uncle who was shot (non-fatally) on his porch because some kids with no concept of ricochet were shooting at turtles about a mile away, so . . . you know . . .

But There’s Still A LITTLE More To It Than That

April 11, 2013

Despite what is said by people whose livelihoods depend upon oversimplifying things, simply believing that you can do something does not, in and of itself, make it possible; it’s a good starting point though.