Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Luck... Fortune... Life

We never like to admit it, though we can't deny it; inevitable, uncertain, unpredictable and random but for sure in every aspect of our lives 'luck' does play a central role. A collection of unpredictable things, an array of random events, life is composed of a host of life changing phenomena happening without any direct cause just because of nature's tendency of random fluctuations... It's a tendency of us humans to seek out and attribute causes, to make predictions, to expect some outcomes and to get disappointed when things don't happen as we want, or to get ecstatic  on getting unexpected boosts to expect the same victory next time.

"Fortune favors the brave," "man makes his own luck," "luck may help sometimes, work always helps," I used to be a fan of such quotes, until I realized that they're just weak efforts of humans to encourage efforts in extremely hopelessly uncertain and unpredictable environment. Fortune isn't some conscious thing to favor the brave, only the rash decision makers fortunate enough to get positive results are remembered as braves the history being amnesic to the failures. Sometimes good thoughtful decisions come out with bad outcomes, the outcomes have many things along with our actions to depend on, it's an injustice to blame only the decisions when things go wrong and an over admiration to attribute all success to the decisions and actions when we get success. Even if we consider the parts other than us while planning for some action, we can't guarantee accomplishment as there's something we can't guess in proper, that something being luck or random fluctuations of it. Winning one lottery doesn't guarantee another win,  it can be proved that 'hot hand' in games is mere a mirage... your viva may depend upon the answers given by the candidate before you, in written exams things like mood of the examiner, or the quality of your first answer can affect the results more than actual quality of your overall performance. Being good doesn't promise a good outcome, helping everyone including the wrong ones may throw you in crisis or may make you an idol, being moral in immoral situations may make you a star or leader or may throw you in trashes...

Are we just puppets? If everything depends on luck, what's the role of making efforts? Does it have any role... We can't control luck. We are puppets in some sense, the consequences of our actions depending at least in part on something we can't control. But we're not lifeless dolls tied with some invisible strings getting moved by some invisible hands moving on random... we're capable of making actions, and planning them before making; we're capable of thinking and learning to think, of understanding the situations our capacities and incapacities, of estimating the odds of success impartially while restricting our tendencies of favoring our own decisions or those of doubting them more than needed if we're anxious, of deciding whether to take the risks, and of controlling our emotional responses when we fail or when we succeed.  We're capable of resisting temptations and learning to wait, to have more patience, to sacrifice immediate joys to get more enjoyment in future, or to accept minor losses in order to avoid major ones in future... We're born with certain levels of optimism, but we're capable of increasing it if we lack it or of decreasing it if we're born with optimism that is delusional. We can learn to direct our limited resources to things which really matter, we can learn to be rational while still being a dreamer.... Aren't we lucky that we're alive enough?