Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can speak about the nature of ‘random’ events (and how they often happen streaks) at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.


Full Video Transcript:

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about streaks and how things in life tend to happen in streaks, things happen in clusters. It’s the nature of random. The nature of random events is that actually things tend to happen in clusters.

Let me explain. In 2011, that year I got paid to speak at 31 events. So 31 events I got paid to speak at that year. I booked five of those events in one day that year. I’ll never forget it. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “This is unbelievable.” Five of those events of the 31 I booked in a single day. That was a good day. That was a good day. But this is the nature of random.

And there was a study that was done, it was actually a university professor who does this study every year with his students, and he has a class of maybe a hundred people—I don’t know exactly how many, but a whole bunch of people—and he splits them up into two groups, and in both cases he takes one group and gives them a penny and says, “Flip this coin a hundred times and record the heads and the tails of all 100 flips.” The other group, he says, “Look, pretend you have a penny that you’re flipping and record heads and tails of these hundred flips, even though you didn’t actually do it.”

And it turns out that it always happens the same way, that the group that’s pretending does like “heads, heads, tails, heads, tails, tails, tails, heads, tails, tails, heads, heads, heads, tails, tails, heads, tails, heads, tails, tails.” They kind of go pretty evenly back and forth down the whole way. But the actual reality of what always happens by the group that actually does the actual flipping is that it goes more like “heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, heads, tails, heads, heads, heads, tails, tails, tails, tails, tails, heads, heads, tails, tails, tails, tails, tails, tails.” Things tend to happen in streaks.

It’s the same thing when you go to Vegas and you look at the roulette tables. Tends to be “black, black, black, black, black, red, black, black, red, red, red, red, red, red, red, black, red, red, red.” Things tend to happen in streaks.

Now, I remember when I went and took statistics myself in university. And I had a professor, in fact my professor was the one who told me about this study—it wasn’t him that was doing this study, it was someone else, but he’s the one who told me that story—told the whole class, but he actually had an actual formula. So he was able to describe this phenomena in mathematical terms, and in fact on the first day of our class, I had a class with maybe 60 students, and he said, “Take a guess on how many pairs of birthdays are in the room,” so in other words, two people who have the same birthday.

Now, 365 days in a year, there are only 60 students in the class, so most people guessed like probably zero or maybe one, just by coincidence. Turns out there were like six pairs. So that’s 12 people in the class out of 60. That’s like one-fifth of the class had a birthday that was shared by someone else in the class. And there was a statistical reason for this. So yet again, things happen in clusters.

And so like if you’re having a good day, I believe you. I believe you. Now, I have shared another video that talks about the psychology that actually leads to a good day and a bad day in some cases. A lot of this, you can notice good things just if you’re in a positive mindset. Likewise, you can notice negative things if you’re in a negative mindset. But the external things that happen to you, those things do indeed tend to happen in clusters. And sometimes I notice that things are just not going well. I’m like, “Man, what is going on?” Like maybe I have a speaking engagement, like it’s cancelled, or there were two or three more that I was trying to get to fall through, and kind of everything’s not going well. I’m like, “Man, what is going on?”

And the axiom that I always come back to and the one that I encourage you do as well is, “This too shall pass.” This too shall pass. You might just be in a negative cluster of things that are happening that are negative, because you’re going to have a positive cluster as well. And I’ve had my fair share of positive clusters where over a period of time I get a whole bunch of things that go my way all kind of one after the other. Maybe over the course of a week or two I just have like a ton of things go my way, and then maybe I have another week or two later on where just everything’s going wrong.

So one part of it is the mindset, and I have a whole video on that, and we have to take responsibility for what we think about because it does have a huge impact on what we notice every day. But at the same time, we have to acknowledge that external factors, which come at us with an element of random to it, of course it’s correlated to the amount of effort you put out, but at the end of the day there’s still some random element of the things that happen to you in your life, and things do tend to happen in clusters. So you might have a period of time that’s difficult, but it’ll pass. You might have a time that’s really good, and you can’t kind of get a god complex during that time thinking that you’re out of the woods and everything’s golden because the tide will change.

So things tend to happen in clusters. Keep that in mind. This too shall pass. If you’re in a difficult time, I know what that feels like.

Thanks for watching this video. I appreciate it. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.