Five Minutes, Probability and the New Year

Five minutes; I watched a movie this weekend and the last 5 minutes changed everything. Stories have an arc, the conflict, the climax and the resolution. What I thought was the resolution changed 3 times in the last 5 minutes. The Pacers versus the Knicks. It was 105 Knicks and 99 Pacers with 11 seconds left. Seems safe to leave? Reggie Miller scored 8 points for the Pacers in 9 seconds, giving the win to the Pacers. Those who left early, not only had the wrong winners, but missed a great moment in basketball.

So much can change in just a moment. My calm, sunny afternoon on the pier was suddenly interrupted when a couple in front of me started fighting. I saw the man put the woman in a headlock and then he roughly pushed her away.  Yelling at her to stay away, he hurled her purse as far away as he could. I was alarmed, but my two friends with me explained, whilst I was checking my phone, she had struck the child and he had protected the child. It was then I noticed the small child holding the man’s hand. How often have you either come late or leave early and miss the story?

This is the conundrum. You don’t know if you have the whole story or not. It happens a few times in movies, things change dramatically in the last few moments, but typically waiting is only going to give you the credits and a few outtakes. TV dramas, it’s pretty likely something will happen in the last minute, the cliffhanger, designed to keep you coming back. Sports events, if one team has been leading significantly, most likely the last 2 or 3 minutes is not going to change the outcome. If you think about it, you probably use probability to determine if you have the whole story.

The calendar flips over to a new year this week. For many, this is a reset. What about the new year being not so much of a new year, but a probability? If things stay on their current course, what’s the probability you’ll be happy with the outcome? What do you want your story to be next year at this time? Are coming to late or leaving too early in your own life? Things can change in a moment, timing is everything, what’s your everything 2018?

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