Power of Large Numbers–Driving Force or Fallacy: Do More–Succeed, Do Even More–SuperStar, Do Even More–Legend…

Law of large numbers; the hundreds of unsolicited emails in your inbox is an example of the law of large numbers… Noted Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, in early 1700s, described the large numbers this way: In any chance event, when the event happens repeatedly, the actual results will tend to be the calculated, or planned, results…

This law originally applied to matters of science and  math but, along the way, crept into the business and personal development arenas: For example, according to Michael Jordan, the great basketball player; I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots, I’ve lost almost 300 games, twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed, I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeed…

There are those who advocate the law of large numbers with the mindset of; throw enough stuff against the wall and something is bound to stick… The law of large numbers is a principle of probability and the basic premise that large numbers provide– more accurate predictions, less deviation from the expected, greater credibility in the outcomes…

Casinos have the law of large numbers working in their favor: Management of casinos know that while the outcome of any single game is unpredictable, the outcome of many rounds of that same game is entirely predictable… In other words, in a group of six players, only one, on average, will be a winner. The casinos then structure their payoffs or ‘odds’ slightly in their favor so that the money paid out to any player who wins will be more than offset by the money taken in from the five players who, on average, don’t win.

Note that casinos don’t need to cheat the individual gambler, as long as they keep their doors open, the odds settle in their favor… Insurance companies use similar principles to set premiums. They spend a great deal of effort and resources calculating the odds of certain catastrophes, such as a house fire, then multiply this value by the payoff they would give in such an event.

This amount is how much the company can expect to have to pay, on average, for each person that they cover. They then set their rates at levels that cover this ‘expense’ in addition to providing their profit. The policyholder gets peace of mind because the insurance company has effectively mitigated the risk of potential loss in a given catastrophe. The insurance company gets a flow of regular payments in exchange for a massive payoff in the unlikely event of a big claim…

The law of large numbers is a powerful tool that enables us to say definite things about the real-world results of accumulated instances of unpredictable events… According to wisegeek; simply stated, the law or large numbers is the best explanation for why larger samples are better than smaller ones…

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In the article Work the Law of Large Numbers by Dr. Gary S. Goodman writes: If you don’t try, you can’t win. Try more and more, and even more… and become a performer whose feats are celebrated forever.  Having said this let me temper the law of large numbers with this admonition: It only takes one to succeed! This is a critical corollary to the law of large numbers. Yes, you have to make many attempts, but if you sink that final shot at the buzzer; just that one shot— you’ll come up a game winner.

The key is to stay in contention long enough to be competitive, to spot your opening when it occurs and to seize the chance– these are the things that position you for winning… For example, let’s say that you’re a salesperson and you’re in a slump period. How do you dig your way out? Repeat this phrase: It only takes one! However, finding the one is the challenge.

This involves– the three E’s: Exposure, Encounters, Exclusivity. The law of large numbers gives you ‘exposure’, puts you into those situations where you will be ‘in play’, available to see and be seen… To arrange ‘encounters’, you need to work on your ‘approach skills’, learning to get the attention of the specific people you want to know better, as well as practicing ways to start and sustain conversations… To gain ‘exclusivity’, you must showcase your uniqueness and develop a plan for enticing the people who interest you into spending one-on-one time together…

The law of large numbers, almost without exception, leads to– It takes only one– opportunities… Working together, these two principles create symbiosis and the desired results by combining– quantity and quality… That’s why it’s so important to wed– the law of large numbers with ‘it only takes one’ thinking: The realization that success may be just ‘one’ smile, ‘one’ sale, ‘one’ phone call away…

In the article Law of Large Numbers by Russell Anderson writes: In selling, the law of large numbers is simply a reference to the fact that achieving a targeted sales result requires that enough effort be spent at each stage of the sales process to achieve the desired outcome. From experience, sales people learn the ratios of how many prospects it takes to achieve the results at each successive  stage of the sales process, for example; assuming the sales target is several tens of units of whatever you’re selling, and it may take several thousands of mail pieces to develop a few hundred responses, and from that yield you might be able to close the several tens of units sales target…

In other cases for example, it may require hundreds of thousands of email blasts to develop several thousand prospects… and from those you might yield several hundred of prospects that respond favorably. The point is that you must understand ratios of numbers and their impact on sales at each stage of the process, in order to implement an effective sales program… A large numbers methodology can produce predictable results on a consistent basis. A good rule to walk away with is that, with all variables being equal, the more people you reach, the more products you will sell.

In the article Law of Large Numbers by Brad DeLong writes: Law of large numbers tells us that the sample average you compute will converge to the true value at a frighteningly rapid speed. The standard demonstration of this is to repeatedly flip a coin and count the excess proportion of heads over tails. We know that– with a coin flipped and caught in the air– the population average taking all coins that have ever been flipped of the excess proportion of heads is zero. How many observations do we have to take–how many coin flips– before the sample average converges to this population average of 0% excess heads? Let’s see. Here’s one run of 1,000 flips from Excel’s internal random number generator:

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Here are ten more: You could have a population of 295 million flipped coins. Yet you don’t need to look at hundreds of millions of them to determine what is going on. Looking at 1,000 will do.

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The law of large numbers describes the result of repeating the same experiment multiple times. According to the law of large numbers; the average value of the combined results should be close to the expected value, and the average value will become closer to expected value as more trials are performed. According to John Care; most business problem comes down to a single number. Either that number is too small and needs to be larger, or is too large and needs to be made smaller…

According to Deepak; the law of large numbers does a very good job of helping us predict the seemingly random events in the future and it has a very good reputation of being right most of the time… the random events over a period of time always form a pattern… According to Gary S. Goodman; business people who adopt a large numbers mentality typically take on the ‘toe in the water’ syndrome—and that means they edge up on opportunities– they are very tentative about making commitments… the consequence of being tentative means becoming a follower… but followers don’t win when committed to a large numbers campaign, you must be a leader to be successful…

According to Jason Bloomberg; in our old ‘small number’ world, we were careful what numbers we collected in the first place, because we knew we were using tools that could only deal with so much data. But now, it’s all about large numbers! As the large numbers grow and our tools improve, we must never lose sight of the fact that our ability to understand what the technology tells us is a ‘skill set’ we must continue to improve. Otherwise, not only are the numbers fooling us, but we’re actually fooling ourselves…

According to Calvin Coolidge; nothing in the world can take place of ‘persistence’. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has always solved problems…