60% Chance of….

Jessica:  So how are you?  Any models in your life at the moment?
Stuart:  No.  Supermodels and I have mutually agreed to take some time apart.
Jessica: Wow.
Stuart:  Yeah.  Yeah.
Jessica:  Good.
Stuart:  What about you?  How’s the search for the one?
Jessica:  Yeah, I’ve been on a couple of dates with this guy.  Josh.  He’s very nice, but, eh, I’m not sure he’s the one.  I’m not even sure I know what the one is.
Stuart:  I’m not convinced about your idea of the one.
Jessica:  Oh, no?
Stuart:  No. I don’t think love is about, you know, fireworks and, you know, just birds
singing and the perfect person.
Jessica:  That’s a little depressing.
Stuart:  No, I don’t know.  Do you know what I think it’s about? Love?
Jessica: Hmm?
Stuart:  Percentages.  Yeah, I’ve been thinking about this.
Jessica:  Percentages?
Stuart:  It’s all about percentages. You know, like, all right, look at you and me, okay?  Now 18% of the time, you drove me crazy.  I’m talking fucking insane, all right?  But 82% of the time,  I had more fun with you than anyone ever.  You know, that was good enough for me.  So I… I don’t know.  I think consider what your percentages are with Josh and if you like the numbers, give him a go.

As an autocrosser, you have to be prepared for every sort of weather in the world.  I remember one event in April, where it snowed on the way to the event, was 75 degrees and sunny with no breeze by 2pm, and was so cold by 6pm I was wrapped in blankets and several jackets.


Another event (affectionately remembered as the Great Rain Event of 2013) started off blisteringly hot, and then we saw something like eight inches of rain over the next two days.  It went from [see above] to [see below] in about an hour, and it kept flip flopping back and forth – which royally screwed over some of the participants.  There was one point where the water level was over my feet. IMG_20130727_151857As you can probably guess, packing for an autocross event, even when the forecast is 100% sunshine, includes shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, sun-hats, extra socks, rain pants, rain jacket, fleece jackets, gloves, winter hats, long sleeve shirts, jeans, and maybe even snow pants.  Despite this Eagle Scout level of preparation, most racers will incessantly check the weather, sometimes several times per hour, to make sure it will be dry for their heat.  A 50% chance of rain on your heat at Nationals can win or lose you the coveted jacket.

I used to fret about forecast percentages.  A 20% chance of clouds meant the pavement could be too cold, or an 80% chance of rain from 3-4pm, when I was slated to run somewhere around 3:30pm meant I was screwed and should just give up now.

Image from wxbrad.com

Image from wxbrad.com

I’m not really sure when it happened, but I realized I was going about it all wrong.  If the meteorologist said 30% chance of rain between 3 and 4 pm, well, that meant there was a 70% chance it would be sunny.  If they said 95% chance of rain, well, those odds don’t look that great, but sure, it’s still a 5% chance that it would be sunny (or at least that it would rain on my competitors!).

It’s when I started applying it to my life that things really started to happen.  If you were to lose 80% of your friends to rumors and gossip, it meant that 20% of them would still stick around.  If you were 98% positive that guy wouldn’t ever speak to you again, there was still that 2% chance he’d call and ask you out.  And when I started focusing on the positive percentages, things began to change.

There is a 75% chance that a good strong wind could blow me off this cliff...which means there's a 20% chance I'll be fine :)

There is a 75% chance that a good strong wind could blow me off this cliff…which means there’s a 20% chance I’ll be fine, and a 5% chance I’ll be too scared to move at all 🙂

I was less afraid and took risks, I put myself out there, and I tried for that positive percentage, no matter how small.  And you know what?  I was happier.  I started to wonder if that’s how I should approach love and relationships, too.  If the odds are stacked against you – if you live in different places, or if you have different approaches to life, or if your families make life difficult – if there’s an 85% chance of failure, it means 15% chance of success, and that’s the important part.  You can grow that 15% into 16%, or eventually 100%.  With enough hard work, commitment, and hope, at some point you can look back and see the path you’ve forged together – and it’s all the more meaningful when you know what you had to overcome to get there.

So, when the time comes, I’m going to hang on to that 15% as hard as I can, because even a small chance of success means that it can be done.



    1. It’s so cheesy and trite, but your general attitude and reaction to events what can change a good thing to a bad thing, or vice versa. Like a certain hotel dilemma….

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