When it comes to success, at anything, we often hear things like “practice makes perfect” or “it’s all a numbers game”. The reason why both of these statements are true relies on the fact that everything can be achieved when given enough opportunities to succeed. The task itself is always possible. While the type of task influences how fast you can have success, it doesn’t actually affect if it’s possible or not.

If you tell me “Hey, I bet you can’t make a basketball shot from across the court while blindfolded.” I wouldn’t immediately dismiss the challenge but, instead, pose some follow-up questions. How many shots do I get to try? How long can I practice? Do I have to do a traditional basketball shot?
If I have to hit a standing jumper from across the court with one opportunity, I’m going to politely decline. If I’m given more shots, more practice, or a better system to accomplish the task, we might have ourselves a deal.

How a number is calculated versus what it represents is almost always different.

The conversion rate of something is the # of successes divided by the # of opportunities to succeed.

Your conversion rate tells a story. It represents the goal you are trying to accomplish AND the system by which you are trying to accomplish it. It’s those two factors in combination that are important.

Once we understand our conversion rate, even if it’s estimated or even if it’s a rough number, we can begin to better evaluate the task and if we have the stomach to grant ourselves enough opportunities to succeed.

If my conversion rate of making that basketball shot is .0001 (or 1 in 10,000), the only thing I have left to figure out is if I want to sit here and take 10,000 shots. Is the reward big enough to warrant that much investment?

Ultimately, this type of evaluation is being done all of the time, subconsciously and internally, whether we realize we are doing it or not. Misunderstandings can arise if we don’t plug in some rough numbers and understand the calculations that stand in front of our success.

If we proceed forward anyways with our misunderstanding and don’t immediately see results or have the unstoppable willpower to never give up, we almost never have the stomach to make the full investment.

We see this play out once we listen to feedback from a person trying to accomplish a goal, work leads, or implement the new marketing strategy.

Generalized statements about the lack of success with something almost always is an indication one of two scenarios, the misunderstanding about the conversion rate of a goal or a declaration of one’s appetite to give themselves (or their business) enough opportunities to succeed.

Let’s go back to the basketball example. You say to me “If you shoot the ball underhand, it’ll significantly increase your chances of making the shot from across the court.” I give it two tests, fail, and declare that method doesn’t work.

Does it mean the underhand shot isn’t better or more efficient? No. It means you and I had different understandings surrounding the increased rate of success. We had different understandings of the new conversion rate.

Additionally, I might simply say “Oh, I could never make that shot regardless if it’s underhand or not.” Do I really think that there are zero circumstances by which I can make the shot? Or am I simply opting out of the investment needed to give myself enough opportunity to succeed (those 10,000 attempts)?

When we start to utilize this way of thinking, a path to success becomes much more clear. When we stumble or have doubt, we can no longer blame the system. We knew what we were getting into and we decided to proceed forward.

What I love about this way of thinking is the ball is always in our court (basketball pun intended), nothing is impossible, and everything boils down to two questions. What will take to succeed? Are we up for it?