Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rarest of Rare Outcomes

I was completely fascinated when I first read about a concept known as "Stochastic Probability Theory of Life". I still am. Fascinated enough to know the result and eventuality; realistic enough to know it hardly happens in real life.

I am sure you might have heard of it. This has been shared umpteen times in Facebook and other social networking sites. It is also known as the "Pregnant Deer Scenario". A situation with no favorable outcome is explained and the reader / user is asked about a possible and practical solution. In case you are unaware of the theory -

The scenario and the image are not my creations and are reproduced from the net. The other day I was wondering what if all the problems are solved with a single unlikely sequence of events. And that's when I recollected this scenario.

"Stochastic Probability Theory of Life":
In a remote forest, a pregnant deer is about to give birth to a baby. It finds a remote grass field nearby a river and slowly goes there thinking it would be safe. As she moves slowly, she gets labor pain. At the same moment, dark clouds gather around that area and lightning starts a forest fire. Turning left she sees a hunter who is aiming an arrow from a distance. As she tries to move towards right, she spots a hungry lion approaching towards her. 
Query - What can the pregnant deer do, as she is already under labor pain? 
What do you think will happen?

Will the deer survive?

Will it give birth to a fawn?

Will the fawn survive? or
Will everything be burnt by the forest fire? 
That particular moment?

Can the deer go left? – Hunter’s arrow is pointing
Can she go right? – Hungry male lion approaching
Can she move up? – Forest fire
Can she move down? – Fierce river 
Outcome - She does nothing. She just focuses on giving birth to a new LIFE. The sequence of events that happens at that fraction of a second (moment) are as follows: In a spur of MOMENT, a lightning strikes (already it is cloudy) and blinds the eyes of the Hunter. At that MOMENT, he releases the arrow missing and zipping past the deer. At that MOMENT, the arrow hits and injures the lion badly. At that MOMENT, it starts to rain heavily and puts out the forest fire. At that next MOMENT, the deer gives birth to a healthy fawn.

I am sure you will have at least 2 things in your mind after reading this. You are happy with the final outcome. At the same time, you are wondering if all the sequence of events will happen at the same time and more importantly, can the same thing happen in our life as well? The statistician will categorize this as a Poisson Distribution. The eternal optimist will feel it can happen. The realist and pessimist will not agree with the outcome. And, quite frankly, who are we to argue?

But, just for a moment, imagine if we have a problem similar to the one mentioned above with no favorable outcomes in front of us. The problem could be anything - a personal one, family problem, extended family issue, property issue running for years, relationship issues, commitment issues, professional issues etc. And then imagine, everything gets solved in the spur of the moment. Exactly. All the trials and tribulations undergone for months / years / decades solved in a single moment! Won't the religious part of you agree? Ain't that great? Isn't that motivation enough to hang on to the situation until a solution emerges?

After all, "Success is largely a matter of hanging on when others have let go"..


  1. A thought provoking narrative! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the kind words and the visit ma'am.. :)

  2. Stochastic probability is the other scientific theory that supports the existence of hope in adverse situations!

  3. Correct. More solutions come from waiting patiently for it and believing in it, than by worrying and letting go. Nice post!

  4. I've read about this but never got to read the answer. Thanks for sharing this Binu :-). The lesson I would take from this is, despite what situation we are in, if we know our priorities and focus on what is most important, things will automatically fall in place.

  5. As you rightly pointed out, focusing on priorities and not concentrating on external factors makes a difference..

  6. Honestly, I was not aware of this theory and read it for the first time. So, thanks for sharing it. I guess, I concur with your thoughts in the concluding para.


All yours..

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