How To Win Almost Anything

HOW TO WIN … at Rock-Paper-Scissors

We’re not kidding around when we offer this simple advice – THINK before you throw down your hand against a willing challenger. Winning this game is all about strategy. Sounds like hard work. Well, it needn’t be, as the clever people at FlowingData, a website that puts a scientific twist on ordinary pursuits, have done the thinking for you:

  • Rock it: men tend to use rock on their first throw, so try paper the next time you’re facing a male opponent.
  • Paper weight: out of the three, paper is thrown the least in the match; use it as an unexpected option.
  • Copycat: inexperienced players often subconsciously repeat the hand that beat their last throw, counter with the opposite.
  • Watch their fingers: they will move in the intended shape.

HOW TO WIN … Competitions

When it comes to beating the odds, sometimes simplicity is the key to success

  • The first rule is to enter. While some competition organisers receive hundreds of thousands of entries, others only get a handful. The only surefire advice: you have to be in it to win it.
  • Understand how the winner will be picked. If it’s a random draw, increase your odds by putting in as many entries as you can within the rules. If judged on skill, place your energy into making your entry stand out from the crowd.
  • While we all tend to ignore the terms and conditions for most things, reading the small print could save you from being disqualified or overlooked due to minor details.
  • Look for competitions that aren’t widely publicised, have limits to who can enter or that aren’t open for long. Something advertised on national TV, for instance, will likely get a huge number of entries; a competition run by a local club will be seen by a much smaller pool of potential entrants.

Find competitions on social networks

Companies constantly stage competitions on their online social network pages such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Entering can be as simple as “sharing” a photo or “following” the organisation’s page. Remember you are sharing your details, so make sure you know who you are sharing them with.

Skill contests have fewer entrants

Sometimes competitions will require you to jump through hoops by filling in an entry form or survey. While this might slow down your entry time, other entrants will also get frustrated and give up, meaning your chances of winning will be higher if you stick it out. Skill contests asking entrants to submit a piece of writing, a photograph, recipes, or something similar, have even fewer submissions. Less competition means higher odds of winning.

Winners’ Luck


    In 2013, the winners of OzLotto’s $70 million jackpot went down in history for scoring the largest Australian lotto prize on a single ticket. The ladies bought the ticket using spare change from a lunch outing.


    In May, Pierre Sutcliffe, a two-time high school dropout from Melbourne, won $500,000 on the Australian game show Million Dollar Minute. He credits his daily newspaper habit for his cash win.


    A 67-year-old US man won the Florida multimillion-dollar lottery twice, buying both tickets at the same 7-Eleven. James Bozeman Jr first won a cool $10 million in 2012, followed up by $3 million in 2013.


    Australian truck driver Bill Morgan was declared clinically dead for 14 minutes. To celebrate his survival, he bought a scratch card and won a $27,000 car. Asked to re-enact the moment for a TV news story, he bought another card and won a $250,000 jackpot!

Master the knack of 25 words or less

Write succinctly, use humorous and upbeat language, mention the product and quadruple-check your spelling, grammar and, of course, the word count. See? Only 25 words!

With 25 words or less, your entry needs to be unique enough to catch the judge’s eye. Try these tips:

  • Write down what you want to say – ignoring the word limit. Be sure to mention the product and to write in an upbeat manner.
  • Once you’ve written your draft, shape the sentences by removing any unnecessary words.
  • Finally, check your spelling, grammar and word count. These simple things could be the difference between winning and having your entry rejected.

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