One of our favorite sports storylines is rooting for the underdog. In the 2018 NCAA basketball tournament, we saw a 16 seed get the first win over a number 1 seed in the tournament’s history. You can’t help but feel excited for the UMBC Retrievers and their fans – unless of course you were on the side of the number 1 seeded Virginia.
The Cavaliers went 31-2 coming into the big tournament. They did everything right in the regular season, working hard in practice and at game time. They received the highest praise possible from the tournament selection committee, a number 1 seed in their region. Everything was going well for them, as they prepared to play a game that no team in their situation had ever lost. Yet, when it came time for the big dance, they left the court disappointed.
While upsets over number 1 seeds are extremely rare, not all upsets are. According to this Washington Post article, the number 12 seed has upset a number 5 seed in the first round about 35% of the time. That number is awfully close to the percentage of Americans between the ages of 35 and 65 will become disabled for more than 90 days, which is about 33%.
So where is the lesson in here? Working professionals can do everything the “right” way and have their life set up for success. They can obtain an (expensive) education and find a career in a field that suits their talents well. They can maintain an active and healthy lifestyle that keeps them functioning at a high level. They can be married and potentially have many loved ones they provide for. However, at the end of the day, there is a still a chance that they could become disabled and lose their steady income that provides their lifestyle.
Stories that relate to emotions tend to resonate with people more than just pure statistical information, so this example may hit hard with clients who are sports fans. Saying that there is about the same chance as becoming disabled long-term as a number 5 seed losing in the first round of the tournament will be easier to relate to than simply stating that there is a 33% chance. Having a real-life example to compare to as opposed to just a theoretical probability will make the possibility of becoming disabled seem more real. And while we all hope it does not happen to us, the chance is very real indeed.
While disability is statistically the “underdog,” we have seen it upset successful lives time again. Fortunately, disability is an underdog we can help clients prepare for.