Blessings, karma, luck, probabilities

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 7:36 PM | comments: 0

I had some really good news today, on top of some other good news earlier in the year, and in aggregate, it just seems like there's a pile of good things piling up. One might consider it a blessing or something.

If it's me, it's definitely "or something."

The year has not been without it's challenges and bad news, but none of it was permanently bad. It's funny though how the brain starts working against you, as if to suggest, "Hey man, all that good will come at a price." So you start to wonder, is that next tropical storm going to be a destructive hurricane? Will you get into a car accident? What do you think they'll find in that colonoscopy? I often wonder if our brains are wired to cause this kind of suffering as a survival tactic.

Logically, bad things don't happen as a result of good things. Humans have invented the concepts of luck or karma because it's the easiest way to account for chaos and randomness. Some people like to say that everything happens for a reason, which totally grates on me. It implies there's some mystical plan or force you can't explain. But the reality is that you can explain most everything, even if the underlying reasons are dissatisfying or uncomfortable.

After the last year, I think I said more than once that the only way to roll with things is to embrace chaos. Accept that you can't control all of the things. While I still believe that, I also feel like the best course of action to deal with chaos is to influence probability. I mean, that should be obvious coming out of a pandemic. You could do things to reduce the risk of getting sick, and vaccination reduces the probability to the realm of very unlikely.

Changing the probability is powerful. Your success at work is more probable if you surround yourself with the best people. Your probability of living longer is influenced by what you eat and how you exercise. It's more probable that you'll meet a great partner if you meet more people. You're unlikely to experience an earthquake if you live in Florida. There is randomness and chaos in all of the above, but you can influence the probability.

That good news I was talking about, there was certainly some uncertainty and randomness about it, but there were a series of things I did that made it more probable. I accept that luck was involved, but I also acknowledge that I did something to influence it.

I'll stick with my "embrace chaos" mantra, but add "influence the probability" to it.


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