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. What better way than to illustrate this point with stories of mine when that did not go so well for me. I think you will catch the drift of what better choices I should have made.
How to not put odds in your favor:
- Not changing the engine-timing belt as per the operating manual of a Subaru GL with close to 100k miles on it. This was topped off with a trip with business friends from another country and going to Atlantic City in the winter. W had a great time – at first. The breaking of the belt and the immediate engine failure followed by a 2 mile hike back to AC on the Parkway has made for great stories, but they were a great pain in the romp.
- While embarking to visit a friend in Southern Germany I was checking a roadway map in an overtired state. I drifted to the side of the road and then hit the roadside markers, crossed a four-lane highway because of losing control over car and trailer in tow, went down an embankment, rolled over, and then crashed into a fence. Only forward thinking moment here was that I wore a seat belt.
- I went down a familiar local road leading to a river, but I forgot that the river is flooded turning the car into a k. Well, my car floated only for a minute or two before it bottomed out and then I found out that the water does not leave the car as fast as it had entered. Result: windows needed to be de-iced inside and outside due to the high moisture content and the winter weather.
- Fixing the transmission on the car requiring mounting the front wheels again after finishing the repair. I forgot 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 driveway while I took my sister and self on test ride. Wheels made a terrible noise and there are only a few houses where help could be asked for. It was a Sunday morning around 9am. It made for a really awkward bell ringing.
- Taking car and pet dog on joyride through town. Dog loved hanging out side of window while resting his head on rearview mirror. I forgot to hold on to legs in right hand turn. Dog falls out of window doing 15mph. Dog is ok and hops back in car and wants to look outside window again.
- While on a roadtrip in Stuttgart Germany I lost my orientation and I had not checked which biggest city lies North (Autobahn road signs 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.
- After moving to the U.S.A. my first load of laundry turned into an adventure. I had no idea what Bleach was. That and regular detergent emit strange smoke when added together in washing machine. Laundry included my favorite 80 Dollar sweater that then looked like an experiment from a tie-dye course.
- I installed a washing machine at home and did not pay attention to the installation warning locating and actually shutting the main water supply off before installing hoses. Hot water valve breaks and shut off was not in reach. Neither was the telephone. This happened at an apartment complex on the second floor. My thumb turned white from holding the water from coming out the valve.
- I adjusted the idle speed governor on my riding mower with the engine running. That was a thing the manual tells you in detail not to do under any circumstances. It results in parts flying apart in engine. Fix turned out easy, but engine had to come apart.
- I bought a new sliding door for the new to us house. During the installation process I found out that the original door had been a custom designed one leaving a 2 inch gap over top of the new door. Hmm.
- We bought a new premium fridge at a local scratch and dent. I came home proudly with the new device just to find out that it would not fit in the space of the old one. Upper cabinets were ok to stay put, but the lower one neededl.;l.l. to be moved.
- How many examples can you think of where you did not put the odds in your favor?
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.