It’s funny how certain things will occur no matter how small the odds are. Such as winning the lottery, surviving a plane crash, or even the emergence of life on Earth. All these have been known to happen, but ever so sparsely.
When it comes to determining the probability of things happening or not, maths and physics come in very handy. An event that has a 0.00001% probability of occurring will indeed occur if the right conditions are met, or if enough time passes (according to a very popular theorem involving a monkey and a typewriter).
Many people adhere to the universal laws of probability, including Lance Armstrong, the famous road racing cyclist who won seven consecutive Tour de France titles.
”Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a 90-percent chance or a 50-percent chance or a 1-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight.”
Interesting choice of words for someone who doped his way to victory and eventually got stripped of his titles. But Armstrong wasn’t talking about his sporting career when he said these words.
When he was 25, Armstrong was diagnosed with an advanced cancer. The malignant tumor had spread to his brain, lungs and abdomen. He underwent what is known as an orchiectomy and eventually lived.
After the operation, his doctor (urologist Jim Reeves), was asked in an an interview what he thought Armstrong’s chances really were. The physician replied: “Almost none. We told Lance initially 20 to 50% chance, mainly to give him hope. But with the kind of cancer he had, with the x-rays, the blood tests, almost no hope.”