Apply Law of Probabilities

law of probability


I don’t believe in providence and fate, as a technologist I am used to reckoning with the formulae of probability. – Max Frisch


When in school we all studied the Law of probabilities. This law states that the possibility of a number to occur at any given time is 1/(The total count of the numbers). That means if the expected outcome of an action is positive, negative or neutral, the probability of outcome being positive is 1/3rd.

This law is crucially considered to decide the outcome of an event, action or process to know what are the chances of the outcome favoring the seeker. In other words if you presented an idea to your manager to increase productivity of the team and 2 of your colleagues also submitted ideas, the probability of your idea getting selected is 1/3rd unless the manager decides to select all 3. Similarly if you are in sales and you are out on the field to sell your product, not everyone’s going to buy it. If you talk to 10 people in a day, and for this product the ratio of prospect converting to customer is 1:10 then 1/10th is the probability.

The law of probability is useful in preparing action plan to meet the target. If the target is to get 5 customers each day and the conversion ratio is 1:10 then you ought to meet and talk to 50 people to have 5 customers. If you need some funding for your project or raise money for charity, you have to use this law to ensure that you reach your target. It is a myth that those who do well in sales are great  in presentation. They are able to close most of the prospects. Some people may have mastered the art of presentation and closing, however the secret of their high sale is they simply talk to more people.

If you want to succeed in exam, you have to solve sample papers at least 10 times to get better at the subject. Your probability of solving the test paper successfully is high.

How does law of probability help in reducing risk?

Risks are integral part of life. Risk becomes an issue if it is not anticipated and mitigated. The law of probability predicts the occurrence, the higher the probability of occurrence the greater is the focus given on the risk to mitigate.

Share prices roll on the stock market and their volatility is a cause of concern for many investors. A decision could mean a gain of millions or even billions of dollars or loss of it. Fortunes could turn tables with a single decision. This decision is taken based on the analytic recommendations and historical performance. The law of probabilities support the decision to buy or sell a scrip based on its probability to outperform its price considering number of variables that influence its price movement viz. index movement, govt. policy change, demand for the product in market, law of nature.

Thomas Edison failed a 1000 times before he invented the light bulb. Every failure he stated that he got closer to the solution, because the probability of success increased as he kept failing. Similarly if you are at a goal to achieve something in your life and aren’t being successful in achieving your goal, it only means that god wants you to try a couple of more times before you embrace success. That is the reason failure is considered to be stepping stone for success.

When the most successful surgeon is asked about how does he ensure that he succeeds operating a critical patient, he always mentions that his experience suggests 99% probability that he will be able to do well. The 1% probability of failure is there, however it is rare in occurrence.

To cut down the probability of failures one must:

Increase their numbers, increase number of rejects to get a Yes from the prospect.

Solve more number of papers to increase probability of answering the exam paper well.

Do more iterations of action to get closer to desired result.

If you want to find an address, what do you do? You ask people on the road for direction. You go a little ahead and then again you ask one more person. Why? To increase probability of being in right direction.

Cricket batsman or bowlers practice several times before they play real game. Practice reduces the probability of hitting a wrong shot or bowling a loose ball.

The astronauts are put in simulator for months before they actually go on mission. The simulated environment makes them prepared for the possible challenges they would face while in space.

Mastering the law of probability is a step closer to success. It gives a definite direction to take action to produce desired result. Apply law of probability in daily life.

To know what it would take to succeed at any goal ask yourself.

  • What is my specific goal. Is it to make 3 new customers every day or make 2 goals in a match.
  • What is the probability of succeeding? One in 10 for making new customers. Or Out of 10 ball kicks you hit the goal post twice.
  • What do you need to do to meet your goal? Talk to 30 new people every day or hit the ball towards goal post 10 times at the least.

Then prepare daily TO-DO list based on these numbers and execute them every day. This is a sure shot way to succeed in any challenging task that is bound up by uncertainties.

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How to grow market share phenomenally?


Very often when we face this question, how do I better my sales figures? How do I approach people with what I have to offer them to help them with a product or service? Particularly people who have services to offer, for instance an IT consultant offers consulting on projects, estimation, migration of services, new product. A manpower consultant offers his advice on how to recruit talented people for the kind of job required in a company. The coach offers technical, leadership or personal coaching. A health consultant provides solutions to better one’s health manage weight, create more energy etc. Finance advisor advices on how to grow wealth and manage risks.

 The services offered by these people are unique, however many consultants still face the biggest challenge of attracting clients and growing their business. Some do immensely well in increasing their customer base, some manage to run slow but get a steady flow of new customers, while others struggle.

 Two people who have same skills, work hard equally why do they have dramatic difference in sales figures?

To address this question lets understand the concept of Precession. Precession is term used in context with force applied on moving objects under the influence of gravity. The earth spins around the sun while the entire universe is exerting a perpendicular force on the earth. The net result is that its axis is tilted in rotation. Yet another example is of a toy top. If the axis of rotation of toy is not exactly vertical then the toy’s rotation axis gets tilted due to the gravitational force.

The same concept applies to the purpose of any living being in this universe. It is explained by the above diagram.

In the diagram the honey bee moves each day, collecting nectar from flower to flower, yet its true purpose is to cross pollinate. Similarly every human being has a true purpose to serve while he is doing his job.

In this context, if your profession is sales or service or software programming or driving or cleaning, you are serving a higher purpose. This higher purpose is to serve people. We human beings are meant to help each other and grow together. Very often this purpose is forgotten in the quest to earn more, to outcast someone or simply to survive. This competition creates what we commonly call STRESS. Stress is the single most reason for discomfort or disease. The STRESS is created when we ignore our true purpose while doing our work. There’s no end to competing and don’t get me wrong, I am not against competition. A healthy competition would lift up one’s spirit.

So, to grow the customer base, one simple mantra that is practiced by those that are successful in their business, service is to exceed expectations. This is a big term as it may sound, yet it is simple. Suppose you are a coach and your job is to coach people on various subjects. While you teach people to gain knowledge, apply skills at work, get better at their job, what are you actually doing? You are serving people to get better in their life. You are helping them to know how to be independent, how to learn the art that would either fetch income or create more peace or better their health. This is your true precession. How to exceed expectations? Do not just coach them, mentor them. Spend weekly 10 minutes of your time with them to understand how they are doing, did they apply what they learnt, help them achieve their goals.

In service industry, giving more value to the client creates an edge. While the world is going through recession and there is pressure to reduce price, what actually is required is to deliver more than what the customer has paid for. This will create raving fan base. They would recommend your service to others. If you like a movie don’t you recommend it to your friend, family? It’s the same. People pay for value.