Monday, June 11, 2007

Winners & Losers

I lose money when I go to Vegas. I win a hand or two, but overall I don't expect to win big because I don't consider myself lucky when it comes to gambling.

My outlook on life, however, is different. Things just always seem to work out for me. My first instinct is to call it "luck", but then I think maybe it is just setting my expectations according to my abilities, and then using the talent I have to meet those expectations. So in hindsight my life seems to be "lucky" while it is really hard work and preparation.

The problem with the rational theory is that I know talented, brilliant, or privileged people who have catastrophe after catastrophe rain down on them. One bad thing after the other happens to them, seemingly without end. And just when they seem to pull the pieces back together, something else bad happens to them. In the mean time I watch my life sort itself out from its occasional stumbles (unemployment, for example), and go on better than before (a new job making 50% more with lots of perks) without that much effort on my part.

And while I am on the "good" side of things, there are those who are even luckier than me. The complete idiots, asshats and other assorted characters who get promotion after promotion, join the start-up at just the right time, make millions upon millions with no talent or effort on their own.

So is there luck in life? Are people inclined to be life's winners and losers no matter what their abilities and effort?

In the scifi novel "Ringword" aliens surreptitiously breed humans for luck. They then pick out the luckiest ones to take with them on long journeys. They figure if the lucky humans are on their spacecraft, then nothing bad will happen to them while out in the reaches of space.

So maybe life is like that. Maybe you don't have to be lucky yourself but just hang out with lucky people?

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