I’ve written a fair bit about having agency in what I/we do, and that’s the main undercurrent of this blog, but how much does luck play a part?
The Butterfly Effect outlines how the flap of a butterfly’s wings can affect where a hurricane on the other side of the world will strike. Ok, great, what has that got to do with you and me?
Think about it. Where you are right now. What you’re doing. What you’re wearing. Whether you’re hungry or full. Whether you’re late or early. Alive or dead. There are countless, and I mean that literally, different permutations that have sifted themselves out of existence in order for you to be reading this right now, wherever you are.
Quick example. Taking the train to work. You walk to the station. You make way for someone pushing a buggy, because you’re a good person, lose 5 seconds. Get to the crossing and the light is about to go green so you jog across to beat it, gain 5 seconds. Get to the station, the barrier won’t read your card, you have to change gate, lose 10 seconds. Go up the stairs to the platform, train left 5 seconds ago, so you’re now on a completely different train with several hundred different people than you would have been with. You get on the train, someone nearby is talking to their friend about how they really should call their mum. That reminds you that you need to call yours, now you’ve allocated a slot of time that evening to do something that you might not have done. The person next to you stumbles and spills coffee on your shirt. Not only does this piss you off and potentially affect the rest of your day but you now need to spend 5 minutes when you get to work cleaning your shirt. Because you’re in the toilet cleaning up, you miss your (hot) colleague come by to ask if you’d like to have lunch. And so on. Essentially what I’ve done there is steal the plot from the very mediocre film ‘Sliding Doors’. However, the point(s) still stand. Our lives are absolutely, fundamentally, entwined with everyone else’s and our environment.
So, the punchline. Essentially, we are all fortunate or unfortunate in fairly equal measure (discuss). The thing that differentiates us, is our ability to research, prepare, then be ready to seize opportunities, or, if you’d prefer, lucky moments to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve.