Is today just another run-of-the-mill kind of day? Or is it really a full-blown, fall on your knees, cry-tears-of-joy-for-your-lucky-break-miracle kind of day? We think the latter.
Why? Because you are the recipient of an amazing dollop of good fortune, one you may not even be aware of.
You see, scientists have estimated the probability of you being born at about one in 400 trillion. You read that correctly. 1 in 400,000,000,000,000! Those odds are 10 times greater than winning the Powerball. And 4000 times greater than being hit by lightning. (As for winning the lottery and getting struck by lightning together, well, our math skills don’t reach that far.)
It turns out the amount of available DNA to mix into an individual human is so vast, the chance of it combining in the certain specific pattern to form the person you see in the mirror is virtually impossible. No scientific chance whatsoever. And yet, here you are. Making you an official miracle just for the fact of you sitting there absorbing this information.
But the news gets more amazing — since those odds of 1 in 400 trillion against don’t take into account the chance of your parents meeting, finding each other attractive, consummating their relationship, and having a single sperm and a single egg unite in joyous conception. We are now up to 1 in 400 quadrillion. (Even more if you add in surrogates, (In case you’re wondering how big a quadrillion is, think of it as 1,000 trillions. In other words, a f#*@!ing huge number.)
Are we finished? No, not yet. Factor your ancestors going back 4 billion years, all the variables that could have prevented them from ever meeting, dating, having sex, and so on…well, by the time you add up all the coincidences in this long tail scenario, the chances of you being here are 1 in 10 to the power of 2,685,000.
So, the odds that you exist are basically zero. But because you do exist, and you’re aware of how precarious that eventuality is, you’re a big winner today in the jackpot of life. Even if all you’re doing right now is eating a chicken burrito, no cheese, no sour cream.*
*Dancing is an appropriate response to this news. So is finishing your burrito and thanking the server for the extra hot sauce.
** Over 99% of all species that ever lived on Earth are extinct. So consider reducing your climate footprint and let’s see if humans can beat those odds too.