By | Adil Malia | www.adilmalia.com
While everyone wants to be lucky, once we have victory at hand, we start claiming how good and smart we are and how it was not luck but pure efforts, foresightedness and talent that made us win and succeed ! We spin our yarn in the lala land of our success making us look – O so smart, sharp, hardworking , talented & committed!
We are all fooled by randomness. Whilst luck plays an important role in success, we tend to underplay its contributions and thus underestimate the role of luck in our lives. Understandably so. It takes away the remit of efforts & success from our hands and places it on elements beyond us. Luck is disguised and called talent, skills, sharp strategy or dedicated efforts. No one gives prizes for being lucky. You do not get invited by say the famous social Clubs if you stand up and say – you were just simply lucky !!!
Taleb in his thesis on ‘Randomness’ says that human beings have two tendencies :
1. Overestimating Events …. they see elephants in the clouds and try to draw out (read force-fit) some esoteric explanation or logic to that event rather than accepting it as purely random events.
2. Socially Underestimating Role Of Luck. Whilst life is more random & absurd than we are believe, we under-play the role that luck plays than it actually does for success.
Research by Taleb for his book – ‘Fooled By Randomness ‘ reflects that in 99% researched cases, the belief that strategy , vision, capabilities etc are critical contributory factors of success, was found to be exagerrated .The past success was more an outcome of Randomness than it was believed. The so called successful, with their earlier skills, vision, talent or their strategy could not repeat their success, a second time over !!! Also that someone else who put in the same energy, efforts, success & strategy did not necessarily emerge as successful and may have even crash-landed !
However, this does not mean that all success is only luck or Randomness. It has to be understood to mean that luck is comparatively ‘more important’ to success than it is believed. We should not get overtly fooled by some force-fitted logic or deep throat interpretation postulated by the successful that over-estimates their sharpness and efforts to underplay the fact that they were simply lucky !
But ofcourse we have to remember that chance favours the prepared, supports the guy who throws the dices and labours to be present at the right spot at the right time. For that you need to work hard, study, prepare and strategize. But merely because you have done all that it should not make you feel frustrated if success by-passes you and falls in love with someone else who did not put in any of that strategy, efforts, blah-blah.
A tongue-in- cheek colleague once told me – “Luck is like a secret mistress, dear. Everybody wants it but nobody acknowledges its presence in social events”. So true . I wish your efforts plough lucky fields !