I met with a friend of mine for coffee last week. I hadn’t seen her since university and it was so great to catch up. She’s an amazing person – the kind of person that walks in the room and everybody notices. She is tall, stylish, and looks like a model. Even more importantly, she’s intelligent, funny, humble, and super cool – the kind of person that makes you think: “How is she so cool? I wish I could be that cool.”

We were chatting about our lives and she was mentioning that she’s in an industry (fashion television – see?? She is so cool…) where she relies heavily on contract work and is in a transition period thinking about what her next move might be. Because I am venturing into the world of online business, I was suggesting that she could consider different ways to market herself and her skills online.

And Then the Statistics Crept In…

She responded in a very thoughtful and open way. I listened to her talk through the idea and by citing statistics – specifically, the slim chances of success – she very rationally and persuasively talked herself out of the idea. She said things like: “How many people really become successful online? How many people try to start a business and aren’t successful? There are probably only a couple of percent of people who are successful. What are the chances that I could be successful?”

I had a front-row seat to watch my gorgeous, amazing, intelligent, and super cool friend talk herself out of her own success before she had even started.

Statistics are Not My Favourite

I don’t really like statistics. Let me clarify… I have nothing against the concept of statistics and I accept that statistics can be useful for some purposes but I do have something against those people who rely on statistics to:

  • tell others that they will fail,
  • crush other people’s dreams (especially little people) of who they can become and what they can achieve, and
  • shrink their own expectations of themselves and their lives.

You Can Defy the Stats with Grit

Statistics are a powerful tool for naysayers. When I was competing as an elite indoor and beach volleyball player, I knew about the stats and believe me… I heard about them from many people.

Q: What are the chances that someone who is 5’6’’ (with shoes on) would become a two-time National beach volleyball champion?

A: Very slim.

Q: What are the chances that someone who is 5’6’’ (with shoes on) would land a professional indoor volleyball contract and compete as the starting setter on a Division 1 team in the Netherlands?

A: Very slim.

Q: What are the chances that someone who is 5’6’’ (with shoes on) would be named a three-time All-Canadian?

A: Very slim.

Well, guess what? I defied the statistics

The thing is I never paid attention to the stats EXCEPT to motivate me and reinforce the fact that I had to work harder, train harder, be more disciplined, and have more grit than everyone else to achieve the levels of success that I was able to achieve.

So let’s take the power of statistics out of the hands of the naysayers, shall we? Instead of citing statistics to support all the reasons that you can’t achieve your dreams, let’s make the statistics work for us.

Here’s What I Propose…

Instead of leaving statistics in the hands of the naysayers, let’s instead only cite these statistics:

Statistics show that there is a very high probability that you will be successful if you take action, work hard, and maintain this work ethic persistently and with discipline over time.

Those are the statistics that I pay attention to….

P.S. At the end of our conversation, I reminded my amazing friend that she already defied statistics by making the York Varsity Volleyball team when we were in university together. And she laughed and said: “You’re right!” So this post is for you – my amazing, gorgeous, intelligent, super cool friend who I know can do anything you set your mind to!

Originally published at www.possibilify.com