How to win in the casino of life

Since I started Una vida a tu measure, the Vivir al Máximo podcast, I have had the opportunity to speak at length with several people who have managed to create a life that makes them happy.

And what I have been able to verify from day one is that, despite having very different personalities and stories, there are common patterns in the way they all act and understand the world.

One of the beliefs that these people share is that we live in a complex world, in which there are very few effects that have only one cause.

Or put another way:

That things are rarely as simple as “if you do A, B happens”, but they are usually more like “if you do A there is a X% probability that B will happen”.

That means that chance plays a key role in the results we get, and that somehow life is like a big casino where there are different “games” you can bet on.

And like any casino, each game costs differently, offers different prizes, and has a different probability of winning.

Well, what I’ve seen everyone I’ve interviewed on the podcast do—and most people don’t—is play over and over again in those games where the odds are in their favour.

Games in which the price of the bet is very low compared to what they can win and the probability of winning it.

Because they know that, in the long run, by doing this, they are going to get much more than what they have invested.

For example, imagine that you were offered to flip a coin, and if it comes up heads you win 3 euros, and if it comes up tails you lose 1 euro.

What would you do?

would you play

Obviously yes, you would play, and you would play as many times as you could, because the odds are 3 to 1 in your favor and by playing enough times you would become a multimillionaire.

Well, in your life you should do the same: always play winning games.

And it is that, although you think that the example that I have given you is absurd and that it is impossible for opportunities like this to exist, the reality is that they do exist, and then I am going to show you some of them so that you can verify for yourself that what I am telling you It’s true.

1. Apply for a scholarship

Cost: The time it takes to fill out and send the application.

Possible benefits: Studying or working in a foreign country can change your life. Literally. Not only are you going to have a great time and make great friends, but you may also meet key people for your professional future, find a permanent job, fall in love… and a lot of other things.

Risks: That they do not give you the scholarship and lose those minutes of your life.

Odds of success: It depends on the scholarship and what your qualifications are, but in general, it is somewhat doable. You don’t need to be a genius to apply for most scholarships.

Actual case: In his last year of college, Hector García “Kirai” asked for a lot of scholarships to go to work abroad. Of all the applications he sent, he was only accepted in two, one to spend a few months at CERN and another to study and work for a year in Japan, but those two scholarships changed his life.

Not only were these some of the happiest months she can remember, during which she made friends that she still maintains and lived unforgettable experiences, but thanks to the scholarship from Japan, she learned Japanese, made contacts and was able to return to Tokyo to work once the period ended. of practices.

To this day, Héctor has been living in Japan for more than 15 years, and he has no plans to return because he loves it.

2. Ask a guy or a girl out on a date

Cost: The minute it takes you to make your proposal to the person in question, and the time you spend with that person afterwards.

Possible benefits: At best, the person you’ve asked out may become the mother or father of your children. But even if it is not like that, it is normal that at least the date helps you to meet someone interesting and to have a good time.

Risks: That they say no and reject your proposal, or that they accept it but then the quote “you get a frog”.

Odds of success: If you take care of yourself a bit, are polite, and your social skills are decent, you should do pretty well.

Actual case: After leaving a love relationship of 4 and a half years, Miguel Hernández decided that the time had come to find the woman of his life.

So, aware that asking a stranger out on a date is a game in which the cost/reward ratio was very much in his favor, he designed a strategy to be able to participate as many times as possible in the shortest possible time:

  • Signed up to LavaLife (a dating site) for two months
  • Searched for all single women between the ages of 22 and 32 within a 30 km radius
  • The web returned 2,000 results
  • I send a smile (one of the options offered by the platform to attract the attention of another user) to each of those 2,000 women
  • 250 women smiled back
  • He sent the same message, slightly personalized, to those 250 women, inviting them out on a date.
  • Of the 250 women who received the invitation, 20 said yes, and he had one or more dates with them.
  • Of those 20 women he dated, he found one that was perfect for him and they got married.

Miguel has been happily married ever since, so we can conclude that the strategy worked well for him 🙂

3. Write to a stranger you admire

Cost: The time it takes to compose the e-mail.

Possible benefits: There are no limits to what can come out of an email. You and that person may become best friends, become your partner, end up helping you in some way throughout your life…

Risk: That you do not receive an answer and that you have wasted several minutes of your life.

Odds of success: It depends on how reachable the people you write to are, but if you do it right, the chances of getting back to you are much higher than most people realize.

Actual case: Javi Pastor has the (good) habit of writing thank you messages to strangers when he reads an article or consumes some of his content that he especially likes.

Thanks to those e-mails, many of these strangers have become friends, clients or even partners, including me.

In my case, Javi wrote to me in 2015 after reading an article of mine that helped him a lot. Since then we have been in contact, and in recent years I have hired him twice and we have promoted his course together.

4. Create and share quality content regularly

Cost: The time it takes to create each article, video, podcast, illustration… or whatever you decide to create.

Possible benefits: Creating and sharing content that adds value to others allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, and make yourself known. In this way, other people can discover you and contact you to offer you all kinds of beneficial things for you: from words of thanks and offers of friendship, to a job or another great opportunity.

Risks: That the content has no impact. And even so, in that case, creating it will have served you to improve your skills as a creator.

Odds of success: It depends on the quality of the content and how good you are at promoting it, but it’s higher than most people realize. For example, I don’t know of anyone who has published 100 quality articles or podcasts who hasn’t had something “interesting” happen to them as a result.

Actual case: Antonio Rico has been publishing investment articles on his blog for several years.

At the end of 2017, a person who had been reading him for a long time encouraged him to create his own investment fund, and put him in contact with the right person to do it.

This is how Baelo Patrimonio was born, a fund managed by Antonio and which ended 2018 with more than 10 million euros of capitalization.

5. Start a business (online)

Cost: It depends on the business, but in general you will need several months or even years of work, and an initial investment. In general, these costs are much lower if you start an online business.

Possible benefits: unlimited. On an economic level, you can earn a lot of money, and even become a billionaire. On a personal level, you will grow and learn a lot, and you can meet a lot of interesting people. And at the impact level, you have the opportunity to change the lives of millions of people for the better.

Risks: That the business fails and you lose all your investment. Put like this, it may seem very serious, but if you do things with your head, it should not be the end of the world, but simply an unfortunate situation from which you can recover.

Odds of success: Low. Creating a profitable business and doing well for you is not easy, and whoever tells you otherwise is lying. Still, it’s still a worthwhile gamble because even if things go wrong, you’re always going to take a lot of learning, because your chances of success improve with every failed attempt, and because the potential payoffs are so great. that many times a single success can more than compensate for all previous failures.

Actual case: It’s no coincidence that almost all of the guests who have come on the podcast thus far have their own business.

In many cases these are small businesses, such as writing and selling books, which are compatible with a traditional job.

But the vast majority have some kind of project or business of their own.

Because they know that it is a bet that is worth it.


As you can see, I was not cheating on you, and you yourself have been able to verify that in the casino of life (unlike a real casino) there are games in which the odds are in your favor.

I have just shown you several of them, but there are many more, and to identify them you only have to ask yourself one question:

“If I did this a million times and at the end I took stock of the results achieved… would I have earned more than what I invested?”

If the answer is YES, as in the case of all the previous activities, it is a game in which you are interested in betting.

If the answer is NO, as in the case of the lottery, it is a game that you should avoid.

It’s as simple as that.

In my experience, the people who do best, those who “get lucky” and manage to create a life to suit them, are those who understand the existence of these asymmetries and take advantage of them to their advantage.

Those who know how to identify the games in which mathematics is on their side, and who have the patience to participate in them over and over again.

That is the secret to winning in the casino of life.

And the good news is that you can replicate it.

So now that you know this, I hope you’ll spend more time and resources playing “winning games”.

You may not be successful in your first attempts… but if you keep betting, the results will not be long in coming.


Now it’s your turn!

Apart from the ones I have mentioned in this article, what other “investments” do you know of where the odds are in your favor? Tell us in the comments!

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