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Why Luck Plays a Disproportionate Role in Our Lives

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This is not my usual type of blog post about industry or economics but more in the realm of philosophy. We are taught during most of our childhood and teen years that ability and hard work are the most important determinants to our future lives. You should study and work hard to make yourself a better human being etc. etc. However one thing that never enters the mind of the young is the importance of luck in our lives. I never put much thought behind the luck , K ,destiny before reading Nassim Taleb’s famous book.

The most important thing I remember from his book is the importance of luck in determining success and failure . Living in India, you can see luck being the most important thing in determining a person’s future. With almost 80% living under $2/ day with no decent health,education to speak of , ability and hard work can take you only so far . Luck determines most of the stuff human beings are made be it intelligence, emotional quotient . Genes even determine whether you are happy person or not .

Besides most places and roles that humans find themselves in are due to luck . Numerous instances can be found in the life stories of your friends/ family . Proverbs like “strike when the iron is hot” etc. all point to such opportunities that come through luck. The fickleness of the luck factor is in my opinion one of the most important reasons why Religion continues to occupy such an important position in today’s world of iPads and Android. People can’t explain why blind luck can turn someone into a pauper and someone into a king. To favor themselves with Lady Luck people turn to religion and faith .

Human Beings in the 21st Century think that they are mostly in control of their lives when they are not . Why we do live in the most peaceful and prosperous times in history , we are far from being in control of our lives. It has been only 2 centuries since most humans were totally in the hands of Luck and only 20-30 centuries when we all the more so in the Hands of Luck . We continue to be insignificant puny creatures in the hands of Lady Luck.


Abhishek Shah

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