There are many forces in the world that are out of our control, and that affect the outcome of our endeavors. This will leave some life coaches and self help authors with an uncomfortable feeling. I believe that to be successful one must accept reality as it is, not how we wish it to be. So we need to understand that there are many forces out of our control and there are many systems we don’t fully understand. This makes the outcome of our endeavors not completely predictable. So it is possible to be smart and work hard, and yet still not achieve success. But many life coaches will tell you that success is guaranteed with smarts and hard work. This is true if you are given a very long time to try. If you have a room full of monkeys typing on computers, eventually one will type Shakespeare’s complete works, given enough time. The question is how much time do you have to commit to achieving your success, and how hard do you expect it to be? I theorize that luck can make your trip easy or hard, and it can make that trip short or long and arduous.

NLP, the map is not the territory – our concept of reality (map) vs. the territory (real world)

Wikipedia definition of luck: The definition of luck (or chance) varies by the philosophical, religious, mystical, and emotional context of the one interpreting it; according to the classic Noah Webster‘s dictionary, luck is “a purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force that shapes events favourably or unfavourably for an individual, group or cause”. Yet the author Max Gunther defines it as “events that influence one’s life and are seemingly beyond one’s control”.

Luck can be interpreted as: a supernatural influence – lucky charms, divine intervention, astrology, tarot cards and fortune tellers.

Or it can be interpreted as a random set of circumstances -tornado hits your neighborhood, go fishing for the first time and get a boatload.

Or it can be the result of a system which is well known, but the outcome is randomized – roll of the dice, lottery, poker or other casino game.

There are systems that are so large or complex it is nearly impossible to predict outcomes because of the complexity – stock market, world events, weather

There are systems that are predictable – rocket trajectories, chemical reactions, computer systems.

We have a circle of influence. Anything inside the circle we can control, outside the circle is out of our control. Some events outside our circle are predictable by a percentage that is dependent on how well we understand and are able to model the system to which that event belongs to.
You can buy a sandwich at the restaurant and pretty much know what you are getting. Sometimes that sandwich isn’t as good as usual (events outside our control).

Getting a sandwich with salmonella, contracting a disease (genetic or communicable), being involved in a car accident, or a layoff at work.

Systems that are repetitive are predictable. Plants grow in the spring. Crops can be harvested in the fall. Some systems are less predictable because they are less regular in their patterns. The crops didn’t do well this year because they didn’t get enough rain. You can control or mitigate to an extent. We can water the crops. The mitigation can cost resources. It’s expensive to buy irrigation equipment and use water. What if there is a water restriction imposed?

We use the regularity of patterns to predict the future. This helps us control things (of sorts) that are out of our control. Crop growth is regular. But if we get a bug infestation or drout then those less predictable events impact us negatively.

not understood model and making decisions with imperfect information
the complexity of a system, very complex systems are difficult to understand. Systems that are not understood appear to have random outcomes. When an outcome is unknown to the stakeholder, it’s classified as luck. Favorable outcomes are good luck while unfavorable outcomes are considered bad luck.

Sports can be bet upon with team and player statistics as metrics used to predict future outcomes. But there are upsets, the underdog wins.

black swan – Naseem Taleb discusses the Black Swan event as a very large and most often unpredictable event that has a significant impact on the participants. All bubbles and market crashes belong to Black Swan events because they are very impactful and are mostly unforeseen by the participants.

statistics, poker and roulette, vs very complex systems and lotto. Gambling games are statistically predictable, and card counters are kicked out of casinos for that reason. The lottery is suppose to be completely random. Odds of winning are well known. The odds of winning lotto are very small but people win it all the time. This is the law of large numbers.

don’t take it personally