Do you ever think that luck can literally run out?
Portrait of my past few days:
- Lost my iPhone
- Got dumped.
- My new receiver, approximately two days outside the return window, died and left me without the comfort of depressing movies and TV.
But I can’t complain, can I? The last few months my cup hath overfloweth with luck. I got through the final bit of my PhD without a hitch and landed a sweet job at the same time, all the while accomplishing assorted things on the side. The luck supply was sure to run out.
It’s like passive karma. If good things happen to come your way for a while, fate’s gotta balance that out with some chance misery.
I talk as if fate is supernatural, but it need not be. Maybe fate is just statistics. Let’s say you flip a coin 10 times and it comes up heads all 10 times. Chances are, if you flip it another 10 times, it’ll come up closer to 5 heads. This regression to the mean occurs after any unusual run; you can’t escape returning to the baseline.
Now let’s assume that the baseline of life is 50% crappy (because let’s face it, life just isn’t sunshine and rainbows. We’re not designed that way). Any time you’re running at 90% good stuff for a month, chances are that the next month is gonna have about 40%1 more crap coming your way than the month before.
Most emo math lesson ever.
The upside is that if you’re running at 10% good, chances are things will look up. Having only 10% good for your entire life is just so statistically improbable that hope is only rational.
This is assuming all is left to chance. If you’re consciously doing things to make your own life crappy, that’s all you.
On that note, looking back, getting drunk and leaving my phone in a cab isn’t exactly a chance occurrence. And relationships? Well, those are all the conscious and unconscious decisions of two people, so while their workings may be mysterious, I wouldn’t call them random.
That fucking receiver though…working one moment, not working the next. Faulty technology is all coin-flip.
1 44.4% actually, but I’d confuse people if I wrote that.
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