How important is it to assign a number to something?

Some numbers are easy to understand.

You have a 1 in 13,983,816 chance in winning the lottery. And yet, some still choose to play knowing the odds but are not disappointed when they lose as a result.

Vegas creates an idea that if you are skilled enough than you could win. But when we do the math, the house always wins.

Yet again, despite the probabilities we overestimate our own abilities while we underestimate the challenge.

Numbers matter.

In the case of climate change, it is difficult to assign a number to the melting of the Greenland ice caps.

We know that it is happening. We don’t know exactly when they will be completely melted. 50 years? 100? Either way, it is hard to measure the damage it will cause. We just don’t know exactly. So, many don’t treat it as a threat. We don’t know the costs of inaction if the threat isn’t perceived.

Much like bankruptcy, it happens slowly then suddenly.

When we don’t know the likely hood of outcomes we apply different standards of probabilities. Difficult to calculate the worst case scenario when we can’t see it firsthand. Instead, we go rely on gut feelings.

“I’ll take that bet.”

When the problem is small enough, we can procrastinate without consequences. That time is already spent. So, what are we going to do about tomorrow? When do we start worrying about it?