If life was a game, it is a game that requires both skill and luck. Skill makes life feel fair while luck makes life feel exciting. Half of it is in your control and the other half is very uncertain. The chance of you winning in life improves only if you understand how to balance both skill and luck.
My fascination with probability
When I was in school and my Math teacher introduced the topic of probability for the first time, I was intrigued to say the least. The classic example is the chance of heads in a coin toss. My teacher said, ” If you tossed a coin, the probability of getting heads is 50%” while learning probability for the first time. It was so logical!
I did one question, got it right. I did another one and again got it right. It seemed like I understood probability better than mot other kids in the class. “Betting must be so easy”, I thought.
My teacher scammed me
When I reached home, I wanted to test what I learned on someone. Like every other older brother, your first test subject is your younger sister. She was 4 years younger to me. “Perfect way to make some money”, I thought.
I went to her and said “Hey, do you want to play a game?” She was excited that I called her to play at all. ” The game is simple. I will toss a coin 10 times, if the coin turns Heads five times out of ten I win and you need to give me 10 bucks, otherwise you win and I will pay you 10 bucks. If what my teacher taught me was right, I could make endless amount of money doing this! She agreed.
I asked her to toss the coin ten times. She started tossing the coin and to my surprise, 8 times out of 10 the coin showed Tails. It was not just about losing 10 bucks to my sister. I also lost trust in my teacher.
Truth about probability
Actually the chance of getting Heads on the first coin toss is supposed to be 50%. To get heads two times a row is 25% and when it is 5 times a row the odds are little more than 3%. So, there was no way that I was going to win that game against my sister. Relying merely on a probability theory is foolish.
We are constantly placing our bets on different aspects of our lives. It Is just that, some people decide their bets consciously while others do it mindlessly.
We normally look at ways to increase our risk of success. The way to increase your chance of success is to lower your risk of failure. It is easier to try and fix the faults in the way we act and think compared to increasing a control on life by 50%. This is because we can monitor our behaviour and find out if we actually reduced the times we make the same mistakes in a particular scenario.
Betting on your Career
Deciding what kind of work you want to do in life is definitely a bet. Somewhere inside you, there is a feeling that doing this particular work will have the best odds of getting you what you want be it money, security, freedom or a sense of contribution.
The more skills you develop to help you with your career, the chances of success keeps increasing. Initially, we all make a lot of mistakes. If we don’t get disheartened and stay on our path with absolute commitment, it will yield the results that you are looking for.
The more experience you gain, the less likelihood of you needing to rely on luck. For example, if you are a salesman with zero skills, you might be able to sell one or two units of a product you sell by getting lucky. But, the more you improve your skills, the chance for success is less dependent on luck and more dependent on the skills that you picked up on the time period you have been doing the job.
With time and life situations changing, people’s reason for pursuing the career changes. This is why some people switch careers after being really successful in what they do. They like to rely on uncertainty to develop themselves in a different direction.
When you do move to a new career path, people get really irritated with starting at the bottom where they have very less skills and again have to rely on luck. This makes them doubt whether the change they made was a wrong move. But, in actuality, every move you make in life with absolute commitment will be correct as long as you are ready to adapt to the requirements of the field.
Betting on your relationships
Deciding what kind of person you want to live the rest of your life with is another kind of bet. It may look like luck plays a bigger role in relationships but this is not entirely true. There is a lot of skills that you need to develop in order to know how to manage your relationship exactly like how you manage any other aspect of your life.
You have your reasons for deciding on being with a certain type of person. Make sure the reason you are with them are not based on some expectations. The main skill you need to develop is to love without expectations. If you can do this, your 50% is complete. The other 50% is definitely luck.
If you do your part and if they do not want to be with you, that means it was not a perfect fit and if you loved without expectations, this would never be a problem. You would rather be glad to move on.
Trust your bet
It is okay to make the wrong bets. But learn from your mistakes and fold your hand as soon as you can if you are playing merely based on your ego or based on other’s expectations.
You need to trust your process. Everyone’s process is going to be different. But I highly suggest reviewing different aspects of your life even if they seem like they are going in the right direction. The more you start observing your actions, the more successful your life will be in the area you want it to be.