Arguments Regarding the 2% Rule

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The 2% Rule is one of the foundational tools in the Alpha Male 2.0 toolbox that I regularly discuss. It will help ensure you live a life of long-term consistent happiness. I describe it in detail here. Summarized, it means that if something negative has only a 2% or less chance of happening to you, then you completely forget about it and proceed as if nothing is wrong. Otherwise, you will spend much of your life experiencing negative emotions about things that will never happen to you. That's irrational, stupid, and a huge waste of your time and emotional energy; energy that is better spent in other areas of your life. 

-By Caleb Jones

There is a certain percentage of my readers who get upset whenever I talk about the 2% Rule, especially over the last several months. I have gone back through various comment threads and re-read the arguments these guys have made and have summarized them below along with their answers. This is now one of my "refer to" posts where I can link to this post instead of repeating myself whenever I see one of these arguments in the future. I will also add new arguments (if I see any) to this article as needed. 

Here we go:

1. Just because something bad has low odds of occurring doesn’t mean you should never worry about it.

I completely agree. However, if you don’t also factor in how low the odds are then you’re being completely irrational. There’s a huge difference between the odds of getting into a car accident and the odds of getting murdered in your sleep. Equating these two things would be very silly on your part. 

I wear my seatbelt every time I’m in a car even though the odds are very low I’m going to get into a car accident. I carry E&O insurance in my consulting business to protect me from statistically unlikely errors I may make. I aspirate my syringes every time I do my TRT injections to ensure I don’t stick myself in a vein instead of a muscle, even though doing so is extremely unlikely. 

I regularly do all of these things to avoid low odds problems because sometimes low odds problems need to be factored into your behaviors. But, and this is important, these low odds problems are all higher than 2%. They run around 3% to perhaps 7%. 3-7% are still very low odds, but I completely agree they need to be accounted for. 

Once these odds drop below 2% and we’re talking about things that are a fraction of 1%, then I don’t give a shit anymore. Still low odds, but so damn low that if you worried about them on a regular basis you’d be indistinguishable from a maniac.  

Here’s a real example. My grandmother once knew a woman who lived far out in the country and was terrified of ever getting into a car because “you might get in a car accident!!!” One day, one of her relatives convinced her to get into the car with him for a slow drive around the country. She reluctantly did. Everything was fine until she saw another car on the road approaching them from a distance. She was so terrified she actually opened the car door and jumped out while the car was in motion. Luckily, she only broke her shoulder. She could have been killed. 

You might write off that woman as a maniac, and you'd be right, but that behavior is exactly how you look when you consider all low-odds problems as equivalent. It’s literally insane behavior.

2. You’re not accounting for the severity of the negative outcome. There’s a big difference between having a 2% chance of losing five dollars and a 2% chance of dying or losing your arm.

Correct, but when you get into the below 2% range, these numbers become so microscopic that the difference becomes irrelevant.  

Here’s what I mean. I have on my to-do list to go skydiving. I’m definitely going to do this, hopefully next year. The possible negative outcome to my jumping out of a plane is that I could literally DIE.  

According to your irrational argument, I should never jump out of a plane ever because I might die. The problem is you’re not looking at the statistical probabilities, which is the entire point of the 2% Rule. Yes, I could die, but the odds of me actually dying in one skydive is 0.0007%. [source] For comparison, the odds of you dying in a car crash after driving 10,000 miles are 0.0167%, which is 95% higher (though still well under the 2% Rule, and thus okay). 

Therefore, if you refuse to skydive one time strictly because you might die, you’re not only being irrational, you’re being hyper-irrational, especially if you regularly utilize a car. The odds are so minuscule that the very severe negative outcome becomes irrelevant.  

3. You’re not accounting for repeated activity or repeated exposure. It might be less than 2% one time, but if you do it over and over again the odds can go beyond 2%.

That is correct. As I’ve explained several times before, under these scenarios the 2% Rule applies to the probabilities of the negative outcome occurring within a given twelve-month period 

For example, let’s say my odds of dying in a skydiving accident are 1.5% per skydive instead of 0.0007%. Would I still skydive once? Hell yes. 1.5% is under the 2% Rule so I’m covered. I might even do it four or five times if I really liked it. 

But would I do it hundreds of times a year? No. That would push the odds of the negative outcome above 2%, which means I would refrain from skydiving that often.  

But! The point is that it wouldn’t prevent me from skydiving. It would simply prevent me from skydiving hundreds of times a year. I would still go on that skydive and not worry about dying. If you said I should never skydive even once because if I skydived hundreds of times my risk goes up over 2%, then once again, you’re being insane. 

Here’s a more realistic example that I’ve talked about before. Many years ago, I used to have sporadic sex with a woman who was herpes (HSV-2) positive. I made sure she wasn’t having a breakout during sex, I wore a condom and underwear during sex, I didn’t fuck her too hard or too long, and I immediately showered with strong soap right afterwards.  

OMG! Why did I engage in this utterly dangerous and risky behavior?!? Because of the 2% Rule. I knew for a fact that under those conditions my odds of contracting herpes from one sexual encounter like this was far under 2%, so as a follower of the 2% Rule, I proceeded with no fear. 

However, did I have sex with that woman hundreds of times that year? Of course not. I knew I could be jacking the odds of problems above 2% if I did that. So instead, I had sex with her a few times that year, and that was all. No problem. I enjoyed sex with her (she was hot, very athletic and fit, and we were very compatible sexually) and I never got HSV-2. (I get tested for everything twice a year and my last tests came up negative on everything, as they always do.) The 2% Rule wins again.

See how this works?

4. You say ignore things that are less than 2% but then you tell guys to approach or open women all the time. Your odds of success on any individual woman are way less than 2%! You’re not being consistent!!!

This is an extremely stupid argument but sadly I’ve seen it enough times that I guess I need to address it. 

Do I recommend to men that they go online and open just one woman and then call it a day and go jerk off to porn? No. I’ve said literally thousands of times in my books and my blogs that men need to PUT IN THE NUMBERS. They need to open/swipe thousands upon thousands of women over a period of many weeks, perhaps even months if you’re brand new. 

This way, your odds of getting dates and/or sex go way past 2%. It’s the only way to do this.  

Again, when discussing a repeated activity, the 2% Rule applies to a range of time (usually a year), not a singular event. It only applies to a singular event if you’re literally only going to do something once or a small number of times, like skydive once or twice.

5. The 2% Rule doesn’t account for conditional probabilities. Something may be 2% or less during normal conditions, but if you choose to do something high-risk, the odds go up. For example, you might not get the coronavirus just walking around your day-to-day life, but if you go on a long international cruise during the outbreak there may be a higher than 2% chance your cruise gets quarantined. 

Correct. That means certain isolated individuals are choosing to take increased risks. As long as you understand you’re taking risks that go above 2% and choose to go that route anyway, that’s your choice. You’re violating the 2% Rule and you’re choosing to do so. I wouldn’t do that, but if you or other certain risky individuals choose to do that, that’s fine. None of this has anything to do with the 2% Rule itself. 

If you choose to go on a really long, international cruise right in the middle of the worldwide pandemic scare while knowing the risks, or if you choose to have frequent, repeated, unprotected sex with African women in high-HIV regions of Africa while knowing the risks, or if you choose to drive 80 MPH on every road every time you drive knowing the increased risks of speeding tickets or accidents, then okay. You’re risky and likely even stupid, but it’s your life. I’m an individualist, so go right ahead. Either you'll get lucky and nothing bad will happen, or Darwinism will take you out of the equation for me.

In regard to the 2% Rule for you and me, the issue here is not the unusual individuals who choose to do these things, but the percentage of humanity who chooses to do these things. What percentage of individuals in the world drive 80 MPH every time they drive or have completely unprotected sex with hundreds of African women in Africa? Answer: far less than 2%. The 2% Rule prevails yet again. Individuals can choose to violate it, but 98%+ of human beings, particularly in the civilized world, do not regularly engage in behaviors this risky. Thus, it’s not really relevant to you or me. 

Every rant I’ve seen against the 2% Rule falls into one of those five categories above. If I have missed any of them, which I don’t think is likely but is possible, I will add new ones to this article.

The bottom line is this: if the odds of a negative result are 2% or less, calm the fuck down and proceed with no fear. You're asking for insanity otherwise, and insanity is not long-term happiness.

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