There’s something stacked against you right now. There’s a good chance you might fail. They told you your prognosis wasn’t good, and that most people wouldn’t survive this. You’re feeling the pressure. You might even be on the verge of giving up, tapping out, or quitting all together.

Before you do any of those things, follow me for a moment into Arrowhead Stadium. Even if you’re not a football fan, keep reading. I’ll make it worth your while… 

On Sunday, January 23rd, Arrowhead was packed. For four quarters and 58 minutes, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills battled through an intense AFC playoff game. The winner plays again the following week, and the loser cleans out their lockers for the season. Watching this game was like witnessing two gladiators in the Coliseum. As time was winding down, the Chiefs were leading the Buffalo Bills 26-21. Then, with just 1:54 left on the clock, the Buffalo Bills stole the lead.

Bills 29 – Chiefs 26. Less than two minutes left.

Game over, right? Not quite. As the clock wound down even further, with 1:02 remaining in the game, the Chiefs scored a 64-yard touchdown to forcefully take back their lead. 

Chiefs 33 – Bills 29. Just over a minute remaining.

Would that be the final nail in Buffalo’s coffin? Not a chance. A minute is all the Bills needed. Buffalo stormed back and scored again, this time leaving 13 seconds left on the clock.

Bills 36 – Chiefs 33. Only 13 seconds to go.

At this point, there was 91% probability that the Bills would prevail. Everything was stacked against the Chiefs. Down to 13 seconds left in the game, the odds were clear – there was no way Kansas City could pull off this win.

Tell that to the Chiefs. Making the most of those final 13 seconds, Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes connects with tight end Travis Kelce, who gets Kansas City close enough to kick a game-tying field goal that pushes the two teams into overtime. Kansas City quickly scores a touchdown, securing a 42-36 win for the Chiefs. The Bills season came to an emotional end, and the Chiefs live to play another day. This game will go down in history as being epic, thrilling, and unforgettable. 

But wait… The odds said the Chiefs couldn’t win.

The odds said there was a 91% chance that the Chiefs were going to lose.

The odds said it was impossible.

The Chiefs said, “Screw the odds.”

Football today is driven by analytics and data. The numbers don’t lie. They also don’t take into consideration things like heart, grit, and determination. Flip it, and that 91% loss probability really represents a 9% chance to win… it’s all about how we see it in our heads. Mindset is everything, and 9% is enough.

When they tell you that you can’t, or remind you that the odds are stacked against you, remember this. Take on a 9% mindset, flip the odds in your favor, and change your results. 

The Takeaway

Screw the odds. Control what you can control and be the 9%.

Ready for more?

I hope this quick take on how we approach the odds in life is helpful to you. You can follow me here for more insights like this one. And if you liked this, you’ll also get massive value out of the Grit Meets Growth podcast that I share with Chris Cathers. Find it here or on your favorite podcast platform, and let’s all screw the odds! – John