97% of people will not like you. 97% of your prospects won’t buy your products. Generally speaking, 97% of your friends won’t support you in whatever you do. And that’s totally fine, as long as you’re aware of it.
So what is this 97% rule all about?
It is something that I stumbled across over the past few years of doing all sorts of different things. Starting companies, meeting new people, dating, selling products, etc.
I came across an interesting pattern. In almost all cases there was only an incredibly small amount of people, things, objects, etc. that confirmed my initial hypotheses. Even though I was usually expecting an incredibly high number.
Maybe I’m just the most biased and optimistic person on this planet earth and that’s why I was usually expecting a much higher confirmation rate. I don't know.
And that’s when the 97% rule was born. It means that in 97% of the cases your initial hypothesis will be rejected. Hence, it will only be confirmed in 3% of the cases. And it actually helps me a lot while making decisions and especially when managing my expectations.
It could have been any other incredibly high number, but this one sounded good because it’s such a non obvious number. Maybe this does make me sound smarter, more sophisticated and more trustworthy. Maybe not.
Now where in life can we apply this rule? As we are all positive people and I recently read that only positive things will be shared and liked I will use the 3% as a reference case (people liking us, buying our stuff, etc.). Hence, things that confirm our initial hypothesis.
Confirmation is always good. So here we go:
#1 Percentage of prospects that will buy your product: ~3%
#2 Percentage of people that will become your true friends: ~3%
#3 Percentage of people that you’ll be able to fall in love with: ~3%
#4 Percentage of new things you do that will be an instant success: ~3%
#5 Percentage of startups that will be successful: ~3%
#6 Percentage of people that will love your presentation: ~3%
#7 Percentage of people that click on your ads: ~3%
#8 Percentage of people that really care about you: ~3%
#9 Percentage of people that will help and support you: ~3%
#10 There might be a lot more but I guess you get the point.
Just to name a few.
This rule usually applies to an environment that is based on competition, a free market so to speak, rather than a monopoly or some kind of similar restrictive market condition or envionment.
And it differs if you’re already an established company, brand or already have some sort of relationship with a product or a person. Then this rule usually doesn’t apply. It only applies to new things (meeting new people, starting a new business, etc.)
Now if you say this rule is BS and it can’t be just 3% you’re probably right. As I said in the beginning it’s just about a small number whatever number that might be.
And the essence of this entire rule isn’t about the rule itself.
It just makes it more tangible for people like you and me. I could have called it the life rule. But this would have sounded too spiritual, not very intelligent and no one would have clicked or read it.
The essence of this post is more about putting everything in a more realistic perspective. Be it about the number of customers we write down in our business plan, waiting for the love of our lives, building up new friendships, starting a new business and so on.
It should be a compass that helps us to not get frustrated when our initial hypotheses are being rejected, when things clearly did not work out the way we expected, which will be the case in almost all our endeavors (remember the 97%?).
It should help to better deal with failure and properly manage expectations with the help of a simple rule. It has helped me many times to not get upset or frustrated after a major setback or failure in some of my projects or life in general.
After all it is what it is. If 97% of the time I will fail and it is a rule I incorporated into my thinking and everyone else is going through the same stuff then hell that’s the norm and it doesn’t mean I’m stupid or I suck. It's the norm.
If you live by this rule you'll soon start to realize that to be successful you have to show up more often, risk more, do more things, try out new things more often and so on. Again simple math. If you need to show up at least 100 times to be lucky 3 times, well then you need to show up 100 times, right (or need to meet at least 100 people, have 100 people interested in your product and so on).
And that’s what this rule is meant to be good for…
Read More: The 25 Rules For Being An Entrepreneur
[Related: I stopped giving a shit a long time ago]