How The Birthday Paradox Tells A Story Of Potential Serendipity
The birthday paradox explains how many people need to be in the room for a 50% chance that two people to share the same birthday.
What makes the paradox within in birthday paradox is the unintuitive and surprisingly low number you in fact need to have.
But what makes the birthday paradox fascinating beyond novelty surprise value is what insights can be inferred into the potential of serendipity when dealing with exponential functions.
Think about it next time you’re at the pub. Survey the room and take a whirl as to too what the odds are that someone else in that room shares your birthday.
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What Is The Birthday Paradox?
In a room full of 23 people there is over a 50% chance that you share the exact same birthday with at least one other person.
If you are keen on diving into the mathematics behind this paradox, then please peruse for yourself here. However, if you are like me, and not mathematically inclined, then please allow for this explanation.
Consider that comparisons of birthdays are made between every possible pair of individuals. With 23 individuals, there are (23 × 22) / 2 = 253 pairs to consider, which is well over 183, half the number of days in a year.
Serendipity In The Exponential
Every time you add more components to the system, the system potentially doubles in complexity. Going from 100-101 could be 100% increase in potential behaviours, rather than the 1% that is intuitive.
Therefore, in a room you share with 23 people, the types of serendipitous opportunities that exist between you are enormous! And with the addition of 1 more, the opportunities double again.
But what about the virtual room you share with everyone you’ve ever connected with online? It’s really unbelievable to think about the types of potential serendipity that you could force with the slightest nudge.
Then take it a step further and appreciate that serendipity that is possible from a life of connection. Everyone you meet, everyone you could of met.
The realm of serendipitous opportunity is inherently unpredictable, but not because of the seeming randomness, but instead, because of the giant pool of opportunity being drawn upon.
It is a very optimistic worldview to transition to thinking about serendipity like this. Just know that every node you put out into the universe has potential, and much like the birthday paradox, the more nodes you enter into the universe the more you compound your potential serendipitous return.
The Birthday Paradox & Limitless Serendipity
The link between the birthday paradox and serendipity is in realising the potential in common we all share.
Life can be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.
I encourage anyone who is interested in serendipity to please listen to my interview with Christian Busch about the subject and to think about the exponential function between a small group of individuals.
Ultimately, there is far more in common than you would ever be able to realise!
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