“Outcomes are usually not deterministic. They’re probabilistic.” Elon Musk, with advice that applies to life, screenwriting, and especially screenwriting advice.

From Entrepreneur.com:

Broaden the view by tracking probabilities.

Thinking in probabilities (a business has, say, a 60 percent chance of success) rather than deterministically (if I do A and B, then C will happen) doesn’t just guard against oversimplification. This type of thought process protects an entrepreneur against the brain’s inherent laziness.

Musk strives to broaden his view by thinking in probabilities.

“Outcomes are usually not deterministic,” Musk told Kevin Rose in a 2011 interview. “They’re probabilistic.”

Added Musk: “The popular definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result — that’s only true in a highly deterministic situation.

“If you have a probabilistic situation, which most situations are, then if you do the same thing twice, it can be quite reasonable to expect a different result,” he concluded.

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Expanding on this, everything in a story is deterministic, because stories are an illustration of a theme.

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