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1.4 Epic Fails Heading Your Way?

How do you rank the epic fails? When giving a presentation, I usually show a couple videos, and ask the audience to rank what happened on a 1 – 10 scale: 1 meaning no big-deal, far from "epic," and 8-10 being truly epic failures. Go ahead and rank the failures shown in the first two videos

How do you rank the epic fails?

When giving a presentation, I usually show a couple videos, and ask the audience to rank what happened on a 1 – 10 scale: 1 meaning no big-deal, far from “epic,” and 8-10 being truly epic failures. Go ahead and rank the failures shown in the first two videos: a) Biker Faceplant ______                         b) Skiers ______. Also, if you can, add a couple of your personal failures,   or an example of something else in life where someone had a significant mistake or failure, and rank those too: _______________________________.       And since we are in a ranking mind-set, also think of the top five most important things in life, or five things that impact you the most.






I think the term “epic fail” is usually an exaggeration. Unlike the “” label in the bike video, I give credit to these people for taking a risk; to mimic a line from Brad Pitt’s character in Palahniuk’s Fight Club: you wouldn’t want to leave life without any scars. And, the kid in the “Faceplant” video will heal, maybe with a scar. The skiers too will get passed their embarrassment and pain in probably very short time, relatively. In comparison, how would you rank the following: 

  1. Your best friend stole your boyfriend or spouse? ______ 
  2. A person drinks well beyond the legal limit, and on the way home runs into the other lane and causes serious permanent injuries to another driver? ______ 
  3. A parent, who physically and emotional abuses their child though their entire relationship? ______

These new examples provide some perspective. For those who ranked the bike or skier fails high, most would adjust those scores lower now, and assign higher numbers to these new examples. Why? The reason why these new examples get higher rankings is the answer to how we know when something is worth caring about, and must be given serious attention.

What makes something worth really caring about & taking seriously?

The first answer: Quality. The reason why you were also asked to put down five of the most important things in life is because if one or more of those things are involved, then how much, how seriously, how deeply, or the QUALITY of the impact goes way up. Many probably put down family and/or friends as one of the top five most important things in life, so when a spouse is lost, and through betrayal of a friend, the quality, or how deeply you are impacted, goes way up.  

The second major contributor to raising something to greater levels of importance or impact: QUANTITY. If something has an impact, even if it is not major, but the impact is long lasting or happens over-and-over, then it can become very serious. Drinking and driving, or driving while half-asleep in my case, may not seem like a terrible choice, but if it directly causes death or a permanent injury to yourself or others, then the seriousness will be shown not just through high quality (or deepness of impact), but also through high quantity (how often the impact is felt). A parent lost to drunk driving, for example, would be felt every day, in many different ways, by the affected family. 

You can also see the impact of quantity when comparing a parent who loses it one day and snaps at their child verses a parent who makes snapping at their child habitual. The choice to engage in constant abusive behavior to one’s child becomes exceedingly serious as the quantity of impacts on the child exponentially increase the damage. One wave hitting a rock doesn’t do much, endless waves can erode the rock away entirely, making the waves much more serious to even a rock. 

Why do so many still make the choice to drink and drive? They are counting on the last major factor in what makes something very serious: Probability. Your choice of a career, and the choice to drive while drunk, both come with high quality & quantity (QQ) of consequences. If one chooses a wrong career, they will be impacted at least 8 hours every day, which means high quantity of impact, and may suffer serious stress, loss of opportunity, and loss of money and time invested, meaning significant quality of impact. The probability of the quantity of impact is 100% as it will happen the 8 hours a day, but the probability of how deep the impact will depend on the situation, but there will definitely be a QQ impact.

What about Likelihood?

Driving while impaired, on the other hand, can have a very high QQ impact, but, unlike the wrong career choice example, there is not a high probability that if you choose on one occasion to drink and drive that you will get caught, or actually hurt someone. So even though the QQ are very high, you also have to factor in the probability, and the probability is low enough to make some people take the risk. In fact, enough people do make that choice that, according to the Center for Disease Control, someone in the US dies every 51 minutes from an accident involving a driver impaired by alcohol. That doesn’t even count the people seriously injured. 

I think a good argument can be made that if the QQ are seriously high, then even if the probability (P) were a small fraction of a percent, the choice is still serious, and in the case of drinking and driving, whatever inconvenience it may cause, time or money it may waste, making the choice against driving while impaired will be the best for you overall.

It is just common-sense decision-making we do all the time. Any investment of our resources, whether its money in a house, time in a career, effort in maintaining health, emotion in a hobby or passion, or all of the above investments in a relationship, for any choice in life, the level of all of our investments are based on the level of quality, quantity and probability (QQP). The higher the QQP value, the more serious, important, impactful, and clearly more deserving of our serious attention.

  • Quality (how substantial or deeply it impacts me)
  • Quantity (how many times or how often it impacts me)
  • Probability (likelihood of impact on me) 

So what about worldview beliefs? What is the QQP value of beliefs, do they have serious impact? See the analysis in article 1.4: What am I Building my Life On? But first, article 1.3 covers the last video, and why I would rather have seen Joel Olsteen, even if he is a nice guy, do the bike faceplant, rather than perform as he did in the interview.


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