Here’s a provocative question to ponder: Do you believe in luck?
We generally believe we’re in control of our lives; we proudly take credit for our achievements and tell compelling stories about our intentionally designed successes. And that’s all nice and good — we indeed should enjoy our share of merit. However, the larger picture reveals that no matter how carefully and meticulously we plan our lives, we are all subject to unforeseeable, unexpected, uninvited, uncontrollable events that can make or break the day. In our complex world, Joseph Conrad's words sound truer than ever: “It is the mark of an inexperienced man not to believe in luck.” Luck is indeed a slippery notion, loaded with emotional, philosophical, and mystical connotations.
Better Lucky or Talented?
A few years ago, Nassim Nicholas Taleb packed two strong punches to our collective ego. With his influential books The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, he brought to wide attention how deeply randomness and unpredictability affect our lives and reality. This notion is confirmed in the recently published Scientific American article "The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized: Are the most successful people mostly the luckiest people in our society?"
Physicists Alessandro Pluchino and Andrea Rapisarda, together with economist Alessio Biondo, attempted to quantify the roles that luck and talent play in successful careers, using a mathematical model simulating the evolution of careers in a collective population over many years.
The results: “Even a great talent becomes useless against the fury of misfortune. Read the rest