Luck, Fortune, and Chance 6

Posted by erik Fri, 14 Jul 2006 21:49:00 GMT

I have to think of a theme for my Toastmasters meeting next week and one I’ve been considering is the theme of luck. .. a favorite topic of the Robot Co-op, inspired early on in part by the wonderful book Fooled by Randomness (read it). Today, at Bimbo’s Bitchin’ Burrito Kitchen, luck led Bob to pay for our gut bomb of a lunch, and because he claims I cheated (even though I was only looking out for his own self-interest), I get to write the blog post about it.

Josh, a learned student of the classics, brought up the dichotomy of chance and fortune in the context of luck. Chance, the random distribution of good and bad events; Fortune, that fickle lady who determines if you will land on the lucky or unlucky side of the distribution.

Todd, myself, and Bob believe that luck is basically a mislabeled package of personality traits like resourcefulness, boldness, and a positive affect. Feeling lucky often begets being luck… but only when the game is not entirely one of chance. Lucky people seem lucky because they can inspire themselves and others to bring about desirable events… no supernatural blessing required. But, because resourcefulness, boldness, and a positive affect do often lead indirectly to good fortune, the word luck has become an easy label to place on the larger phenomenon. Josh, on the other hand, didn’t appreciate the sloppy bending of the dictionary sense of the word. Which is understandable. I think it’s somehow MySpace’s fault.

In true games of chance, like Roulette, I think we all agreed that feeling lucky has no correlation with how well you’ll do in the game. Sure, you can try employing the Martingale betting strategy or wear a computer that detects flaws in the wheel and takes advantage of them, but as Einstein might have said, “You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it.” Or, I guess, by quitting when you’re ahead.

In the end, Josh and Bob agreed on some idea of fortune, but I think I was processing a burp at the time and can’t remember what it was exactly.


Leave a response

  1. bob Fri, 14 Jul 2006 22:24:49 GMT

    Cheating is the inevitable cause of losing. It doesn’t need to be proven-even if it seems like cheating was impossible-because as a naturally lucky and fortunate person, bad things cannot happen to me except through cheating. The mere fact that I lost is enough to show that cheating of some sort was involved.

  2. Joseph Becher Sun, 16 Jul 2006 13:44:08 GMT

    Trying to upload a photo to 43places and keep getting an application error. Did I mention that both your ideas feedback links are ‘404’?

  3. acs Mon, 17 Jul 2006 11:19:34 GMT

    hi ok u did a great job with ur website but i had to take mine down. the thing is tht when i still see my picture in google!! tho i deleted it a reallllll long time back. its scaled down but still is there any way of removing it completely?? thanks

  4. Muffin! Mon, 17 Jul 2006 20:19:05 GMT

    Darlin, 43things is MIA. Que pasa?

  5. unlucky in love Tue, 18 Jul 2006 17:37:46 GMT

    Then by your definition, Ken Lay was real lucky - until he tanked.

  6. unlucky in love Tue, 18 Jul 2006 17:39:19 GMT

    maybe you need to reconsult the definition of hubris