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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Success is where preparation meets opportunity.

An opportunity is a lucky event.

Preparation is the only part we control.

And even if preparation meets opportunity, we don't know what will be its outcome...

Every decision we take, every event that happens... We can develop some wisdom to how we react to such situations, but we never know what will be the outcome...


There's a debate about free will and fate.

I believe we have free will, but that doesn't mean we control our fate. Whatever decision you take, you won't ever know if it was a good or a bad decision. Luck, fate, will determine what is the outcome of the decision you took out of free will. And add to this all the events that will occur on which you have absolutely no control. Just luck or bad luck.

And you may believe that you deserve your good fortune because of your hard work, but that's just luck. Even your hard-working personality is just luck. You never chose in which country you would be born, you never chose who would be your parents. You didn't chose how you would be educated as a child. You didn't chose what mix of genetics you'd have. And you've build your personality on a mix of lucky events : your location, your parents, your family, all the random events that happened to you throughout your life.

If you believe that all your hard work got you where you are now, that's just hindsight bias and confirmation bias. As humans, we need to believe that we have control.

We had no control on how we were shaped during our childhood.

We work on our willpower, that's the best we can do, that's the most we can do to help our feeling of control upon our fate.

But even our willpower is a mind-body reaction and there was a series of events that affected its development and its current state.
 

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Luck, for sure. But we can control our luck to a certain extent.
I say it comes down to making the right decisions.
Bad decisions will often lead to a 'bad luck' outcome. Make the right choices in life and "good luck" will be by your side.
Live positive.
 

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Yeahbut.

So, you're in a situation.
You can take action to make it better, so why not take action to make it better.
The alternative is to not take action and not make it better, which is dumb.

What that action is, is up to you. I'd suggest in most cases invest your energy in the activities with the highest risk adjusted return.

Also there is an interesting thing, those with positive attitudes who think they're lucky and opportunity is out there tend to see more opportunities and have better luck.

We live in a time where there is an unprecedented ability to make things better. If you're in Canada, you're among the luckiest people in all of human history, and you have amazing opportunities in front of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I say it comes down to making the right decisions.
You don't know it's the right decision beforehand.

You can take action to make it better, so why not take action to make it better.
You don't know if it'll make it better.

You simply believe it to be better once you compare to the past.

Each decision leads to a butterfly effect.
 
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Good post. I've thought about this a lot recently. Perhaps it's more natural to do so when one ages. There are so many things in life that are completely beyond our control. So many things happen seemingly at random. I've done well in life but much of that success is attributable to events beyond my control. For example, being born in Canada to educated caring parents at a time when there were limitless possibilities, having had good health my whole life are things that were all just pure good fortune.

It's not always a matter of good choices. Blind luck plays a bigger part than we like to think. For example it always irritated me when people would say things like "You're lucky you have a good company pension". Lucky? I chose that job partly because of the pension and benefits and dragged myself into it for 35 years to get that pension. Was it luck or good choices and perseverance that got me my pension? Then I think of people with more abilities than me who chose to work at Nortel thinking that was a secure job with a great future and an excellent pension plan and they ended up losing their jobs and their pension so it's fair to say that chance plays a bigger role in life than we like to think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also there is an interesting thing, those with positive attitudes who think they're lucky and opportunity is out there tend to see more opportunities and have better luck.
I'm not dismissing the positive attitude and all of the opportunities. I work towards high willpower, always positive and seeing an amazing amount of opportunities.

But even with an amazing amount of opportunities, the outcome is unknown. Worse, it can lead to the paradox of choice.

And how come am I positive, never stressed out, always accepting my decisions, seeing opportunities? Because of a series of uncontrolled events that shaped me that way. Still comes down to luck.

And because I know that I can't know before hand if a decision is good or bad, the most important thing to me that helps me with life is to fully accept every single decision I take before taking that decision.

Guess what. I didn't want a child. I've met a girl who wanted a child. Now I have a child. Who knows what was the better decision. I could've stick to the idea of not having a child and have a wonderful life which would've been totally different than the one I'm currently having. The important aspect is only to accept the decision that we take and to see the outcome as a positive outcome, no matter what it leads to.
 

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I'm not dismissing the positive attitude and all of the opportunities. I work towards high willpower, always positive and seeing an amazing amount of opportunities.

But even with an amazing amount of opportunities, the outcome is unknown. Worse, it leads to the paradox of choice.

And how come am I positive, never stressed out, always accepting my decisions, seeing opportunities? Because of a series of uncontrolled events that shaped me. Still comes down to luck.

And because I know that I can't know before hand if a decision is good or bad, the most important thing to me that helps me with life is to fully accept every single decision I take before taking that decision.

Guess what. I didn't want a child. I've met a girl who wanted a child. Now I have a child. Who knows what was the better decision. I could've stick to the idea of not having a child and have a wonderful life which would've been totally different than the one I'm currently having. The important aspect is only to accept the decision that we take and to see the outcome as a positive outcome, no matter what it leads to.
You need to separate the decision from the outcome.
People suck at this.

You can make a bad decision and have a good result, you can make a good decision and have a bad result.
My belief is that if you consistently make good decisions, you'll have more good outcomes than bad, and your situation will get better. I think this holds true for all.
Plus it's completely within your control. Your decisions are actually the only thing that is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
You need to separate the decision from the outcome.
People suck at this.

You can make a bad decision and have a good result, you can make a good decision and have a bad result.
My belief is that if you consistently make good decisions, you'll have more good outcomes than bad, and your situation will get better. I think this holds true for all.
Plus it's completely within your control. Your decisions are actually the only thing that is.
Well, I am totally separating the decision from the outcome, you are actually missing a point where you aren't fully separating the decision from the outcome.

Why? You say it : "if you consistently make good decisions".

The adjective "good" implies the outcome. You don't know that beforehand.

You don't consistently make good decisions. You consistently make decisions, period. Not good, not bad. Then you find out if it was good or bad, but only from hindsight bias and confirmation bias of what you believe would've been the outcome of not taking that decision (taking a different decision).

At the exact moment when you make the decision, it is neither good nor bad. And the outcome is neither good nor bad. It only depends of your attitude towards the outcome.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
There are no such things as "good decisions" and "bad decisions" and there are no such things as "good outcomes" and "bad outcomes". There are only "decisions" and "outcomes".

Ok, before someone brings out this kind of example, I'm not talking about those "decisions" like if you "decide" to jump out of a 3-storey building, obviously you'll hurt yourself pretty badly or die and it's certainly a bad decision with a bad outcome. I'm not talking about such kind of "decisions". And even that, when looking at the bigger picture, maybe that event will have shape some other people into something "good". Maybe the child of that person will start something huge that will help thousands of people to prevent suicide attempts. Or maybe you won't die and it'll shape you differently. Who knows.

And anyways, what you got there? A series of events that shaped you and you had no control over them.
 

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A door on the left.......a door in the middle........a door on the right. Which one to enter when you don't know what lies on the other side of the doors ?

I also sought a job that paid well and had a good DB pension, and it took years before an opportunity opened up. But the opportunity had nothing to do with all those years of looking and applying for jobs with a wide range of companies. The opportunity came at a party, at the home of the nurse who worked at my current job introduced me to her husband. He was an executive at GM and asked me if I wanted a job. I said........oh yea, and a week later I was working at GM. I was working there before I even filled out an application or a medical.

My brother bounced around from job to job, and I asked around my work if they were hiring. They said for him to fill out an application and he got hired. We both retired from GM.

There were many long lineups for employment at GM locations when they were hiring.......and we just fell into the jobs.

We bought numerous homes and didn't make any money on them to speak of. We lost money on one home. We didn't have the opportunity to earn "free money" from our home ownership because the local market just didn't provide it.

We might like to think we are in control and can decide our own fate........but I don't think that is the reality for most people.

All we can do is keep rowing in the right direction hoping to get to our destination.
 
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Yes decisions and outcomes but the other way around. Success comes from deciding an outcome, believing it is possible (often when others don't or tell you to play it safe) and sticking with it as choices present themselves, dealing with set-backs and finding new ways. If you simply make decisions based on opportunities that life presents you then you truly are just drifting along and could end up anywhere. Fortune favours the brave!
 

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Even when people are given the same circumstance and luck they don't come to the same outcomes

While my teenage peers were pursuing drugs, alcohol and video games I was shoveling cow **** for $5.75/hour. I chose to spend summers and holidays working and developing myself. My siblings and peers had very similar opportunities with very different results. Now I earn above average salary and they buy lottery tickets.

Halfway through my career I shared an office with a guy who had the same education, earned the same salary. Even though we enjoyed the same time on the same hobbies he spent more on those hobbies while I pursued appreciating assets. I have financial independence and he will work another 20 years

On deployments we end up playing the same games with the same crowd over and over. Even though all the games have such a strong element of luck the same people consistently prevail. The difference seems to be that some people manage risk of bad luck and prepare to take advantage of good luck.

Some people spend their spare time consuming entertainment and unhealthy lifestyles while others spend their time improving whatever their situation happens to be. While I am learning they are complaining about bad luck. I succeed out of relentless pursuit of opportunity. If you just sit at home waiting for the lottery good luck.

I know people who succeeded from the worst situations imaginable. Their peers who say "as god wills" suffer from "bad luck"
 

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Why? You say it : "if you consistently make good decisions".

The adjective "good" implies the outcome. You don't know that beforehand.
Not necessarily, but we can predict many outcomes, and you can act accordingly.

You don't consistently make good decisions.
No, but I try to.

At the exact moment when you make the decision, it is neither good nor bad. And the outcome is neither good nor bad. It only depends of your attitude towards the outcome.
I disagree.
I could drive down the street in my lane, or I could veer into oncoming traffic.
I contend that driving safely down my lane is likely a good decision and likely to lead to a good outcome.
Similarly driving into oncoming traffic is likely a bad decision and likely to lead to a bad outcome.

Of course this depends on your definition of good and bad. I purposely chose a decision where the decision to outcome is very clear.
Other decisions might not be as clear, but I think trying to make good decisions in general.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not necessarily, but we can predict many outcomes, and you can act accordingly.
You cannot.

Some of my major decisions :
  • Go to the university or take a job right away after high school with an apprenticeship?
  • Stay with my current girlfriend and have a child, or go separate ways and don't have a child (which was my initial decision)?
  • Spend 6-figures on renovation to hopefully improve our quality of life in our home or keep that money invested in the market or spend that money on activities throughout the next years?
  • Change job or not? Is it worth it or is it just me?
  • Spend my time on a side hustle during the evenings and weekends to try to earn more money to travel or spend my time with my wife and kid because I already earn enough anyways?
  • Do I accept this promotion or do I already have enough responsibilities?
I disagree.
I could drive down the street in my lane, or I could veer into oncoming traffic.
I contend that driving safely down my lane is likely a good decision and likely to lead to a good outcome.
Similarly driving into oncoming traffic is likely a bad decision and likely to lead to a bad outcome.
I already answered those examples here :

Ok, before someone brings out this kind of example, I'm not talking about those "decisions" like if you "decide" to jump out of a 3-storey building, obviously you'll hurt yourself pretty badly or die and it's certainly a bad decision with a bad outcome. I'm not talking about such kind of "decisions". And even that, when looking at the bigger picture, maybe that event will have shape some other people into something "good". Maybe the child of that person will start something huge that will help thousands of people to prevent suicide attempts. Or maybe you won't die and it'll shape you differently. Who knows.

And anyways, what you got there? A series of events that shaped you and you had no control over them.
 

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I also believe that good luck comes to people who work hard and work smart, are able to recognize an opportunity and act on it, are flexible, are life long learners, and those willing to take a calculated risk.
 

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@MrMatt; You do not seem to be getting it. There are decisions in which you have a measure of control and that can be a good decision or a bad decision... as in your driving your vehicle down the street or deciding not to jump off a 3 storey building. The further you move from being in a position of control, the more it is a crap shoot and pure luck. For example, you make a decision on whether to buy a stock or not based on your belief/opinion/gut feel on what you think you know today about its track record to date and what you think its future is. Your decision making may improve the odds of success, but you have zero control in how it actually plays out. Human beings have many failings and overconfidence is one of them.

Added later: I made a decision some 55 years ago to become an engineer on the premise of an opportunity to use my interests, skills and training to have an interesting and challenging career with good pay, rather than become a rancher or a labourer or something else. It certainly improved my odds of success but maybe I might have become a truck driver and parlayed that into a long haul freight company with hundreds of trucks worth a fortune. All one can do is attempt to improve the odds. It will play out as it plays out.
 

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"If you believe that all your hard work got you where you are now, that's just hindsight bias and confirmation bias."

Sure, that's a philosphy, and maybe I agree with it somewhat, but even if I agree with it 100%, the problem is that 9/10 times when someone says this... the very next words are "...so you should pay even more taxes than you do already"

If you believe that luck plays only a part and that we have control of our lives and proper free-will, then taxing for the purpose of re-distributing is stealing from those who earned it.

If you believe that it's all just luck in the end, then whatever outcomes happen will happen, and there's no stopping it... Which means the people that want to tax you are actually no more likely to make better choices for taxing and spending than random chance... which means they are either delusional or frauds. It's only random luck that they are in control, and it's only random luck that their ideas may do anything good or bad. So if you think that it all comes down to luck, inviting the state into your life to take your money and make decisions of what you can and can't do, is a one-way ticket straight to tyranny.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
"If you believe that all your hard work got you where you are now, that's just hindsight bias and confirmation bias."

Sure, that's a philosphy, and maybe I agree with it somewhat, but even if I agree with it 100%, the problem is that 9/10 times when someone says this... the very next words are "...so you should pay even more taxes than you do already"

If you believe that luck plays only a part and that we have control of our lives and proper free-will, then taxing for the purpose of re-distributing is stealing from those who earned it.

If you believe that it's all just luck in the end, then whatever outcomes happen will happen, and there's no stopping it... Which means the people that want to tax you are actually no more likely to make better choices for taxing and spending than random chance... which means they are either delusional or frauds. It's only random luck that they are in control, and it's only random luck that their ideas may do anything good or bad. So if you think that it all comes down to luck, inviting the state into your life to take your money and make decisions of what you can and can't do, is a one-way ticket straight to tyranny.
Because humans needs an incentive to work harder or take on more responsibilities or more risk or a boring job. And that incentive is money. And because supply and demand will create a wage gap.

But it has to be balanced. Too much of a wage gap leads to a disaster. But no wage gap would also lead to a disaster.

If everybody would have the same income, everybody could do their dream job without questioning about how much it pays. But the world of people's interests is not balanced with the world of what's required for a healthy and functional society.

Some people are paid higher because of pure luck and some because they are willing and capable of taking the higher paid jobs, but that will and capability is also luck.
 

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@MrMatt; You do not seem to be getting it.
Not really, I get it, I just disagree.
There are decisions in which you have a measure of control and that can be a good decision or a bad decision... as in your driving your vehicle down the street or deciding not to jump off a 3 storey building.
Yes

[/quote]
The further you move from being in a position of control, the more it is a crap shoot and pure luck.
[/quote]
Yes

For example, you make a decision on whether to buy a stock or not based on your belief/opinion/gut feel on what you think you know today about its track record to date and what you think its future is. Your decision making may improve the odds of success, but you have zero control in how it actually plays out. Human beings have many failings and overconfidence is one of them.
Sure, but if you're buying stock in a company because some guy told you it was a good deal, vs seeing a record of consistent profits.
You also have your decision to investigate as far as you want.
Deciding to investigate and see what the merits are gives you a more informed decision.
Sure there is a LOT outside your control. But there is also much that is.

Added later: I made a decision some 55 years ago to become an engineer on the premise of an opportunity to use my interests, skills and training to have an interesting and challenging career with good pay, rather than become a rancher or a labourer or something else. It certainly improved my odds of success but maybe I might have become a truck driver and parlayed that into a long haul freight company with hundreds of trucks worth a fortune. All one can do is attempt to improve the odds. It will play out as it plays out.
Exactly, you improved your odds, that's a good decision.
Deciding to sell crack would have reduced your odds and that would have been (IMO) a bad decision.

My position is that while there is a lot that you can't control, there are things you can, and making good decisions will improve your chances of getting good results.
Sure luck is a factor, but if you look at all the rich and supersuccessful today, most of them were lucky, no doubt, but they all put in a lot of work, and made a lot of good decisions.
 
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