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It's a numbers game - The Paranoid Android — LiveJournal
...musings of a mechanically depressed robot...
It's a numbers game
It's funny how the mind works: As I was walking towards the bus stop yesterday morning, and I saw a bus pull away, I thought to myself how unlucky I was. It seems to happen too often, as if some divine intelligence is picking on me.

I thought about it some more. There are three bus routes which stop near my house, all three run an "every 12 minutes" service during the morning. On average there's a bus at my stop every 4 minutes.

It takes me about two minutes to walk from my house to the bus stop (I timed it this morning)... during that walk I can see the bus stop for about 80 seconds... without being near enough to it to run and catch the bus. Using some very basic maths, I should see the bus on my way to the stop about 40% of the time, or two days in every working week. If I am honest I am not entirely sure it happens to me that often, so it would appear my luck is much better than I originally thought.

I don't catch the bus any more than before - but now I feel slightly better about the whole thing.

This got me thinking about other probabilities and how my perception might be warped. When I had my eye surgery I was assured that the chance of serious eye damage was "less than 1 percent". They wouldn't specify just how much less than 1 percent... but this still seemed a perfectly good risk ratio to me - and I had the procedure done. It seemed to me that the chance of something going horribly wrong was so remote it wasn't worth worrying about. Just a month later I was playing the lottery... at odds of 1 in 14 million... which didn't seem to be outside the realms of possibility!

It makes me wonder how far out my perception is on many other things. When I next feel hard done by I will break out the calculator and see if I can prove it!

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

2 comments or Leave a comment
From: faith__eternal Date: February 25th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I think we go based on emotion and not robotic logic. You did care about that 1 percent because you really wanted perfect eye sight. I"m sure years ago people still took the risk even at 10% because of the emotional side of it.

Then with the lottery, your hope and excitement of that possibility of winning makes you think that one chance could be you whether it's 1 in 100 or 1 in 1,000,000,000.

If we didn't have emotions, I think we'd base everything on robotic logic. How dreadfully boring;p
ruggedwriter From: ruggedwriter Date: March 2nd, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)


You've probably heard about positive people being perceived as lucky. Perhaps it's simply because they're positive that they see the best in things?

Or is positivity a factor in more positive things occuring? Possibly!

So next time, feel positive about catching the bus and you may catch more of them :)
2 comments or Leave a comment