Life is full of low-percentage plays. How do you compensate?
Job hunting. Dating. Sales. Making the basketball team (especially when you’re not that tall). What do these all have in common?
For 99% of us, they’re all low-percentage plays. We have little-to-no-chance of immediate, overnight success in any of these arenas. “Winning” in these areas of life takes resilience. A thick skin and a good sense of humour.
Early in their career, a job seeker will often submit dozens of unsuccessful applications to postings.
Dating is life’s natural crapshoot. Especially in a world dominated by online encounters, there are many one-and-done meetups that never lead to a substantial relationship.
Sales. It’s the thing we all do without knowing it. Sure, there are true, bona fide sales people in the world, and then there’s the rest of us.
Convincing someone of joining you for a night out? That’s sales. Recruiting for the local football team you coach? Sales again! All those resumes you submitted to job postings? They’re all pitches for a sales conversation with a potential employer (known more commonly as a “job interview”).
We’re all in sales, and we all suck
At least, we suck in the beginning.
Rarely does that first round of applications pan out. Rarely do we meet our future life partner on the first try. And rarely do we close that big, career-making deal in week one of our new sales gig.
Whatever we’re selling, we’re usually not great at it when starting out. But here’s some great news…
You can get better at sales
Fortunately, there are always different pathways you can take to arrive at your desired outcome.
Whatever success looks like to you, you can reach it by taking a more direct, more smoothly paved road. You don’t always have to be hacking your way through thick brush trying to blaze a trail that might lead to absolutely nowhere.
You can use your networks and powerful inside connections to land jobs. This is a product of building strong relationships and doing great work for others throughout your career.
Your chances in the dating game go up if you learn to master the art of being yourself. The more true belief (not false bravado!) you have in yourself, the better. When you’re able to show up as a confident, conscious human being, you can become a powerfully attractive person.
As for sales, you learn that there are cold leads, and warm leads. Sometimes you have to chase the cold leads (because that might be all you have), hopefully turning some of them into warm leads over time. But as that pool of warm leads grows and gets hotter, you’ll start to notice your closing rate go up. That warm pool suddenly becomes a lot more fun to swim in.
How many at-bats have you had today?
If you’re still in the early days of your personal and professional pursuits, there’s one simple strategy you can use that’s guaranteed to improve your chances of actually getting what you want. It’s not a sexy solution, but it does work. Here it is:
Try more often.
Apply to more jobs. Meet more people (that’s how Tinder connected me with my girlfriend of two-plus years). Reach out to more people and/or ask for more referrals.
There’s a saying that if you bat .300 in major league baseball, you’ll end up in the Hall of Fame. That means that if you successfully hit on just 30% of your plate appearances (or at-bats), then you’ll be among the best ever in your field.
In life, you don’t even need to bat .300 to be successful. My girlfriend is probably the 30th person I’ve gone out with in my life and our relationship has been an amazing success!
What’s my batting average in dating? 1 divided by 30, or 0.033…just over 3%.
And with my measly 3% average, I wake up every day feeling like I’m in the Hall of Fame. 🙂
It all came down to how many plate appearances, or at-bats, I was willing to make.
You know what you need to do
Forget about how low your batting average is in whatever you’re pursuing. However low it is, it’s a normal number. At worst, you’re a normal person.
You’re probably just a handful of plate appearance away from reaching your goal. With every plate appearance, you have the chance of becoming a better batter.
Step up and swing. If you miss, swing again. If you strikeout, come back to the plate ASAP. Keep going, and you’ll be in the Hall of Fame in no time.
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