The 51% Rule

I have a friend who is a professional gambler.

Horse racing. Yes, you read that correctly, he makes his living… betting on horses. So, it’s like this: He wrote a computer program. He calls it “the algorithm”. And the algorithm, it bets on horses with winning odds. How much better are the odds?


Do you understand? So he only has a 51% chance of winning a race. That’s just one-percent more than randomly flipping a coin! But more is interesting. What ends up happening is that 51% – spread over hundreds of days & millions of bets – adds up. To a lot!

I think about the 51% rule often. The lesson being: If I’m consistently 1% better than the status quo, then in the end… I win.

For example, if I’m feeling miserable (at a setback or whatever it is bringing me down), I’ll remind myself: “You’re still at least 1% better, right?”. If I wake up in despairing ennui? It’s less likely to get me down knowing the 51% rule is in place. And the same goes for my hobbies, friends, and dating. Bad date in NYC? Cool, I know my own self-worth, and hell at least I showed up. 51% rule… check… and moving on.

The trick is to keep up the momentum on days when I’m losing. So now when I’m having a shitty day, I fight it by being awesome.

The 51% rule gives me confidence. I can consistently be (at least) 1% better. And that adds up over time. More is more.