Much of life is a lottery.
The late Randy Pausch famously said, “we cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”.
With that quote in mind, here are some thoughts on cards.
- The journey you will travel in life and the destination you will reach is strongly predicated on things outside of your control – these include your genes, where and when you were born, and whom you were born to. These have all been thrust upon you, for better or worse.
- Life often unfolds through a series of arbitrary interactions and experiences. Change one random encounter, decision or experience and the domino effect may result in a very different life.
- In addition to your family, the people you meet and form relationships with – friends, teachers, mentors, lovers and partners – are especially important and will shape your thinking, as you shape theirs.
- Your beliefs, your biases and your temperament, to name a few, are a function of your environment, experiences and genes.
- Temperament, or your ‘nature’, is worth pausing on. Perhaps even how (you) play the hand is limited and somewhat determined.
- The last point is a big leap and calls into question the notion of Free Will (which is beyond the scope of this article). But, it’s useful to illustrate that much of your nature is bestowed on you and defines the spectrum of choices you are likely to make.
- Why does this all matter?
- Fundamentally, an awareness of the randomness of life is empowering. It allows you to better accept your reality, be aware of the unfolding tapestry of your life, and affect change in a meaningful way – for example, being more deliberate in your choice of friends or actively revolting against your natural inclinations.
- It also underpins the argument to be kinder to yourself and others, and less quick to judge. The randomness of your reality and those of others are complex and to some extent determined.
- And finally, if you are fortunate to be dealt ‘good cards‘, be gracious and humble. Your life could be very different.