The science of taking a chance

Are we talking coin toss here?  Heads door A, tails door B?  That 50/50 kind of chance that’s taught in Statistics 101?  What do I mean by taking a chance?

Taking a chance, for me at least, depends on a seemingly impossible combination of down in the weeds analysis and leap before you look abandon.  I can slice and dice the facts until the cows come home, weigh the pros and cons, imagine path A vs B … and after all that, blindly make the jump.

We take chances every day, sometimes by choice, sometimes by necessity, sometimes before we know what’s happening.

The summer 2011 provided all three at once.

I was face with the chance to move to Virginia where I’d been offered a job.  At the time, I was between contracts and therefore unemployed so it was a pretty one sided chance.  Even so, I hesitated.  This was going to mean change.  Big change.  This chance meant having to sell my house in Florida, pack up everything I owned, and say goodbye to everyone and everything I knew.  To leave the place where I’d lived and worked for 25 years for the big unknown.

This chance meant leaving all that was known and familiar.

It was simple and complicated at the same time.

To me it was as straightforward as being employed and the location was inconsequential.  Simultaneously, it was unimaginable.  Relocating was of such magnitude it was impossible to comprehend.

One website states the average US citizen moves approximately 11 times in their life.  At 50, I was long overdue and ought to have been on my 5th or 6th move.  Instead, this would be only my second.  I had lived in a total of two houses, my parents and my own – not counting endless college dorm rooms and cramped little apartments.  My nerves were focused on how I would do in my new job, not my new living situation.  It was simply too big to wrap my head around.

I said “yes” before the reality of my choice could set in.  I didn’t flip a coin, make up a list of pros and cons, or even sleep on it.

Maybe our decisions are better left to play out as they happen.   If we could truly comprehend the magnitude of the chances we’re faced with, would we take them?

Sometimes, after weighting all the facts and analyzing all possible outcomes, we just have to listen to our gut – say a prayer – and take a chance.

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