It Only Takes One

In life, we tend to “optimize” for many different scenarios. Many of my classmates, in particular the business students, “invest their time” recruiting with and signing offers for companies and career tracks with the explicit purpose of setting themselves up for future success. I personally do not “invest my time” with this same thesis, but of course, I have different goals and am perhaps playing a different game with different targets and feedback loops.

My purpose in writing this short essay is perhaps to describe an alternative option, or at least suppose an alternative scenario that I believe to be underratedly common in life. It is this idea, not so revolutionary, that life often comes down to very small numbers. In fact, it often comes down to one single number. One.

One person will change your life. It sounds simple. It sounds dumb. But perhaps it is true. Suppose it is true! Suppose that one person will take a chance on you and you will need to do everything in your power to win them over.

A romantic story – but it happens more than you think. Do not think of ways to challenge the idea, do not think of some data point that shows that x % of people who pursue x career for 3 years are x % more likely to get into business school which means they are x % more likely to get x car and job and family etc.

No calculations.


Because life is not all math. There is an art to it. It is an uncontrollable art though. One you have little (but still some) influence over. Scary right?

This person…this person that is primed to give you an opportunity to change your life…you have no idea who they are or where they come from or when they will hit you .

So you have two options.

You can wait around. You can just wait all day until they tap you on the shoulder and give you your golden opportunity.

Or you can live.

Playing the numbers game is silly because outliers break every statistical model. Financial world breaks when volatility hits its bounds.

The point?

It only takes one extreme event to change everything. Sure you can optimize for the safest place. Sure you can do everything in your power to prepare for d day. And people do. And perhaps that best aligns with their existing theses.

You can also live your best life, do things you care about, and realize that one person will do something for you, one day.

To emphasize, it likely does not make sense to wait around. The point is not to say that one person will inevitably come to you. You probably have to work really hard and get really lucky. There is no magic!

Also published on Medium.