If and When - The probability Game


A measure of how likely it is that something will happen or that a statement is true.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability

We talk about If and When something happens. In this post, I'd like to share the difference between the two in relation with a possible probable outcome or setting.

Let's take some scenarios to compare If & When:

If I save up enough money this year, I could buy a new car.
When I save up enough money this year, I will buy a new car.

If I ask for a promotion, I might get one.
When I ask for a promotion, I might get one.

If I date that girl, I could find out if she's the one.
When I date that girl, I will know if she is the one.


If is a matter of possibly doing, or not. There is a 50/50 level of uncertainty into the known and unknown depending on our inclination towards an action, thought or behaviour.

When implies the act of getting something done with certainty, within a time frame. When has a 100% chance of occuring.

There is a higher probability to getting something done when, rather than if.


Daniel-Jacob Santhou
Creative Strategist

Melbourne, Australia

Twitter: @djsanthou

Creative Work:

Here's a little Poem by Rudyard Kipling from 1895:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


Popular Posts