Putting the odds in your favor – Multiple ways how not to do that
Putting odds in your favor is typically fairly straight forward. All it takes is a little self-awareness and opening your senses as to what else is going in and around your life. It is very prudent to actively do something about this, as it is accident, drama, financial and emotional hardship prevention.
What better way than to illustrate this point with stories of mine when that did not go so well. I think you will catch the drift of what other and hopefully better choices could have led to a much better outcome.
How to not put odds in your favor:
- Not changing the engine timing belt ahead of time on a Subaru GL with close to 100k miles on it. Topping this off with a trip with business friends from another country and going to Atlantic City in the winter. The breaking of the belt and the immediate engine failure followed by a 2 mile hike back to AC on the Parkway was an event that evoked interesting conversation back then and a smile today. Odds in your favor move: Check and understand car manual and do maintenance proactively.
- Checking the roadway map in an overtired state, drifting to the side of the road and then hitting the road side markers, crossing a four lane highway because of losing control over car and trailer in tow, going down an embankment, and then crashing into meadow fence. Car was totally destroyed. Only forward thinking moment here: wearing a seat belt. Odds in your favor move would have been: Always get a good night sleep. Pull over when you are tired.
- Going down a familiar local road leading to a river, but forgetting that the river is flooded thereby turning the car into a ferry boat. Well, this ferry floated only for a minute or two before it bottomed out and the inside flooded up to the bottom seat cushion. Getting the car out was a feat, but then you find out that the water does not leave the car as fast as it had entered. Result: windows needed to be defrosted inside and outside due to the high moisture content and the winter weather for months. Odds in your favor move: Always drive slow. Speeding is trouble.
- Fixing the transmission on your car requiring mounting the front wheels again after finishing the repair. Forgetting to tighten the lug nuts and leaving for a test ride without packing the car jack and the lug nut wrench. This stuff was lying in the drive way while taking sister and self on test ride. Wheels made a terrible noise and there were only a few houses where help could be asked for. It is Sunday morning around 9am. Made for really awkward bell ringing. Odds in your favor move: Always check tightness of tire lug nuts and never leave your car tools at home.
- Taking car and pet dog on joyride through town. Dog loves hanging out side of window while resting his head on rear view mirror. Forgetting to hold on to legs in right hand turn. Dog falls out of window doing 15mph. Dog was ok and hops back in car and wants to look outside window again. Odds in your favor move: Don’t let your pets stick out of open car windows.
- While on roadtrip in Stuttgart Germany losing orientation and not checking which biggest city lies North (road sign do not tell you whether or not you are headed N, S, E, or W). 2.5 hours later the Swiss border makes an appearance – final destination is located 180 degrees off. Odds in your favor move: Always plan trips ahead of time and leave enough time to plan and get to know lay of the land before blindly taking off.
- First month in new country and language skills leave room for improvement. Laundry needed to be done. No idea what Bleach was. That and regular detergent emit strange smoke when added together in washing machine. Laundry including 80 Dollar sweater looked like experiment from tie-dye course. Odds in your favor move: In handling any household chemicals always read AND understand the instructions. Ask for help if you have trouble understanding what the labels want to tell you.
- Installing washing machine at home and not heading the installation warning to locate and actually shutting the main water supply off before installing hoses. Hot water valve breaks and shut off is not in reach. Neither is the telephone. This was at an apartment complex on the second floor. Thumb turns white from holding the water from coming out valve. Odds in your favor move: Always shut off main water and power supply when working on any household appliances. If for nothing else have a cordless or cell phone right with you at all times so you can call for help.
- Adjusting the idle speed on riding mower engine with it running. That is a thing the manual tells you explicitly not to do under any circumstances. Results in parts flying apart in engine. Fix turns out easy, but engine had to come apart. Odds in your favor moment: What did I just say about reading AND understanding manuals?
- Buying new sliding doors for the new to you house only to come home installing it and then finding out that the original door had been a custom one leaving a 2 inch gap over top of the new door. It was slated to rain that weekend of installation… Odds in your favor moment: Take weather into account when planning major work like this. Also, take good dimensions BEFORE buying doors.
- Buying a new premium fridge at a local scratch and dent. Coming home proudly with the new device just to find out that it does not fit in the space of the old one. Upper cabinets could stay, but the lower one needed to be moved. Odds in your favor moment: Take measurements BEFORE buying appliances. Take tape measure along for the ride to the store.
- How many examples can you think of where you did not put the odds in your favor? Do you have any odds in your favor moments worthwhile sharing?
While there are many more examples where I did not make sure that I would do a better job putting the odds in my favor, the ones above will most likely do a pretty good job in illustrating what little effort doing the right thing would have made all the difference. Keep your senses alert and your mind open to what the surroundings are trying to tell you. Listen well and contain messes early and often. Do not find out the hard way how costly it can be not to plan ahead.