2009-06-25 / Community News

Defying The Odds

Life is so much simpler when you are a child. Anything is possible. Well, to be honest, anything is still possible, but when you are an adult, if it's not probable, we don't even try. As adults, we measure the odds.

I always wanted a room in my house with a white carpet and pastel colored furnishings. I had seen rooms like that in magazines and I always thought it looked stunning. But, I thought the odds of getting a grape Kool-Aid stain on it were very high and that the odds of getting that stain out of the carpet would be very low. My mind played with that scenario repeating itself a couple dozen times with various Kool-Aid flavors and the conclusion was a carpet that was white with psychedelic polka-dots. Of course, I would try to hide them by placing furniture and potted plants strategically around the room. The result would be a room with haphazardly placed furniture that looked like a warehouse outlet showroom. So, there would be no white carpet for me. The odds were not in my favor.

For kids, however, anything is possible and even probable. They think that if they actually send in forty box-tops and an entry blank, they will definitely win the vacation for four to Disney World. Because, probably, no other kid saw the same cereal box. To an adult, it's not worth the stamp to send it in, not to mention the forty boxes of cereal.

My son, when he was about ten years old, read somewhere that museums pay a lot of money for dinosaur bones. He figured that if he found one, he could buy a new bike, maybe two. He knew that dinosaurs roamed the entire world at one time and that, as far as he knew, nobody had ever looked for any bones in his backyard. So, he concluded, it was possible for him to find one there.

This ten-year old boy dug a hole in my backyard big enough to bury a small car. If I had wanted him to dig a hole, he would have made any excuse as to why he couldn't do it. But the dream was there: a new bike. He worked all day just knowing that the dinosaur bones would appear at any moment.

It was hard to tell which shovelful was the one that killed his dream of a new bike and financial independence, but I suspect it was likely the very last one.

As an adult, I knew his chances of finding a dinosaur bone were almost as extinct as the animal, but he tried because he knew it was possible and he didn't know the odds. What if he had found something else? Buried treasure, an old watch, or a broken action figure from the 60's? The truth is, you'll never know what you will find if you never start digging.

If only adults could have the naiveté of a child. What could we accomplish if we didn't already know the odds were against us? We could have everything we ever wanted in life if we knew it was possible and if we ignored the odds.

I think that there is a certain immeasurable factor that is absent in statistical equations called human fortitude. defies the odds and skews them in our favor when we refuse to accept those odds.

Hmmm. Perhaps I'll get that white carpet after all. and an industrial strength carpet cleaner to go with it. What will you do?

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.

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