Blogpost, self-reliance

Against All Odds

My affinity toward the character, Han Solo, has been mentioned more than a handful of times before. The man who has admonished a well meaning robot to “never tell me the odds”. Is it foolishness or a desire to keep doubt completely out of his focus? I’d like to believe that it’s the latter. The odds are there but he is the crucial factor in the equation. In the oddest left turn of 80s movie/music, I’m going to juxtapose the swashbuckler’s attitude with the song by Phil Collins from a movie that I’ve never seen, “Against All Odds”. I suppose that I should watch the movie at some point but the song and accompanying video depict a man waiting out a lost love “against all odds”. It’s a heart-wrenching description to say the least and the pain is probably Phil’s point. The odds being against something so longed for is a feeling that most of us can relate to on some level. Yet the ultimate in self-confidence is not. Although these seem to almost exist at opposite ends of the spectrum, I think there is validity and power in both.

People love the lottery because it is long odds with low commitment and high reward. It’s a completely acceptable gamble that doesn’t come with any real consequences. The rewards that each of us are after will be based on personal preference. Although not always true, the odds of success are often linked to the reward. So the main variable is commitment. How much of ourselves are we willing to commit to any particular endeavor? The chances of success go up exponentially in situations when we are “all in” and I believe that’s where Han Solo gets his allure. Especially as he continues down his path and is not “in it for the money”. Full commitment and action toward the reward regardless of what comes his way. The other end of the spectrum also has its own beauty. Recognizing all of the ways to lose and be hurt but going anyway. This is not a cry for a defeatist attitude but rather a sizing up of the obstacle and deciding, THIS IS WORTH IT.

Our predisposition should never be to risk everything in every moment. However I feel like at times, we’ve become too conservative and think of ourselves as too “smart”. We can read the situation and analyze the risk/reward. Therefore we do not push forward because the outcome is against the odds. While this attitude will keep you safe, it may not allow you to feel fully alive. There will be these things lingering out there in the ether that you could have gone for but didn’t. Whether you are as self-assured as Han Solo or running headlong into a losing situation fully knowing the odds, I think we need to take those chances from time to time. Our job in life is not to see how comfortable we can become but rather see what we can create with this life that we were given. Perhaps you’ll look the fool at times but that is part of the price of being fully alive.

“Never tell me the odds!” May the 4th be with you!

Pete

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