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# When improbable events happen

While particular improbable events are improbable, the chance of any improbable event happening at all is highly probable.

• Your chances of getting struck by lightning are almost zero. But with so many people walking around and so many storms, it has to happen to someone sooner or later.
• The same is true for clusters of improbable events. The chance of any individual getting struck by lightning more than once is even closer to zero than the chance of it happening once. Yet when we look at all the people in the world, it’s certain to happen to someone.

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### Not understanding when events are independent

In Naked Statistics, Charles Wheelan explains: “A different kind of mistake occurs when events that are independent are not treated as such . . . If you flip a fair coin 1,000,000 times and get 1,000,000 heads in a row, the probability of getting heads on the next flip is still 1/2. The very ...

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### Assuming events are independent when they are not

When two event are interconnected, the former happening increases or decreases the probability of the latter happening.

• Your car insurance gets more expensive after an accident because car accidents are not independent events. A person who gets in one is more li...

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### Understanding probability

Most of us fall prey to the same handful of issues because aspects of probability go against what we think is intuitive.

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Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It`s about learning how to dance in the rain.

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## More like this

### Failing To Consider Coincidences And Miracles

• Underestimating that surprises and improbable events happen, somewhere, sometimes, to someone, if they have enough opportunities (large enough size or time) to happen.
• Looking for meaning, searching for causes, and making up patterns for chance events

### Why intentionality matters

The truth is once you’re in a physical place, osmosis tends to happen because you’re sitting near someone. Organizations may need to work harder to ensure their employees do continue to learn from each other.

• One solution is to leave less learning to chance You can’t ...

### Recognise and challenge your biases

Our habits and preconceptions can prevent us from spotting serendipity. Three major biases stand in the way:

• Underestimating the unexpected. Once we start to accept that the unexpected happens all the time (bad and good) can we begin to view it as a ...

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