Chapter Luck Luckisprobabilitytakenpersonally TlnonT Note
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Chapter Luck Luckisprobabilitytakenpersonally TlnonT Note

ThisversionisratherdisorganizedTtwouldliketocomposea lectureonthethemetherelativecontributionsofskillandlucktosuccess withquantitativedataRbuthaventmanagedtodosoNyetOTThesections inthisversionmaygetrepositionedorcutinlaterversionsT Thewords luck and

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Chapter Luck Luckisprobabilitytakenpersonally TlnonT Note




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Chapter16 Luck Luckisprobabilitytakenpersonally TlnonT Note. ThisversionisratherdisorganizedTtwouldliketocomposea lectureonthetheme“therelativecontributionsofskillandlucktosuccess withquantitativedataRbuthaven’tmanagedtodosoNyetOTThesections inthisversionmaygetrepositionedorcutinlaterversionsT Thewords luck and lucky areusedinseveralwaysRandpartsofthis lecturewilldiscussusageandmeaningTzfcoursediscussingthemeaningof “luck”bringsusclosetodiscussingthemeaningof“chance”Rbuttwilltry toavoidthatphilosophicalquagmireTtneverydaylanguageRluckistaken

asdefaulttomean“goodluck”RwhileinourgeneraldiscussionR“luck”will refertoeithergoodluckorbadluckfinpracticethisshouldn’tcauseany confusionT 16.1Luckassuperstition Thisistypifiedbythebeliefthatfuturegoodorbadluckcanbeinfluenced bysuchthingsaseactionsthatonemightdodeliberatelyNblowingoutall thecandlesofabirthdaycakeOoraccidentlyNbreakingamirrorOorthat happennearyouNblackcatOorevenbyabstractassociationsNthenumber W[OforpossessionoftalismanicobjectsTserethaveusedlmericanexamples butallcultureshavetheirownsuperstitionsTWhatmakessuchbeliefsbe

superstitionRofcourseRisthatonecan’tpointtoanycausalconnectionTt mentioned“futureevents”Rbutbelievingthatpastbadluckwascausedby ahexwouldbeanothersuperstitionT W“b
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W“c CHAPTER16.LUCK tdon’thaveanythingnewtosayonthetopicftheYVVVbook Believing inMagic:ThePsychologyofSuperstition byStuartVysegivesareaderS friendlyaccountofonepsychologists’sviewT 16.2Individualinstancesofluck,minorandmajor lshortandblanddefinitionofNgoodOluckis NPOwhentheoutcomeofachanceeventisfavorabletotheindiS vidualunderconsiderationT WecanreadilyconsultourownexperiencetofindexamplesRfromminorones

wesoonforgetNfindingaparkingspacerightoutsidethecinemainsteadof[ minuteswalkawayOtomajoronesthata ectourwholelifeTtdonotknow whetheranypublishedacademicstudygivesanextensivelistofinstances ofeventsthatsurveyedpeopleperceiveandrecallasluckNratherthanjust haphazardreportingofselectedquotesO–thisisa“literaturesearch”course projectT thavealreadyshowninsectionWT[anextensivelistofhypothetical examplesfrom Luck RbyyicholasRescherTmasedonhisNmostly“major”O examplesRhesuggeststhefollowingtaxonomyT Windfallsorwindthefts Unforeseeablelostorgainedopportunities lccidents

yarrowescapesorflukishvictimizations noincidencesNeTgT”beinginthewrongplaceatthewrongtime”O nonsequenceSladenmistakesinidentificationorclassification qortuitousencounters WelcomeorunwelcomeanomaliesNingenerallypredictablemattersOT znfirstreadingthislisttwasskeptical–thecategoriesaresomewhatvague andoverlappingRandwerebasedonhypotheticalexamples–buttnow suspecttheywouldactuallydowellonrealexamplesRatleastafteradding twomorecategoriese
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16.2.INDIVIDUALINSTANCESOFLUCK,MINORANDMAJOR W“d ztherpeople’sactionsNwhenyouhavelittleinfluenceonthemOhaving

NunOfavorableconsequencesforyou znceSinSaSlifetimedeliberateriskStakingthatworksoutwellorbadlyT lfterreflectionRNPOseemsoverlybroadeeverythingwewouldcallNgoodO luckfitsNPORbutnoteverythingfittingNPOwouldbecountedasluckTnan webrackettheconceptbyspecifyinga“corenotion”ofluckj zfcoursethefundamentalpointisthatRincontrasttootherwordsassoS ciatedwithchanceR luck isalmostalwaysusedinreferencetoanindividual personRorlessoftentoeTgTasportsteamviewedmetaphoricallyasan individualTnonsiderthefollowing“characteristicsofaneventT itinvolveschanceRintheparticularsensesof unpredictable and

outside thecontrol oftheindividualf itisunlikelyf ithasasubstantialimpactontheindividualf itisaneventthathappensataparticulartimeNratherthananongoing ”stateofa airs”OT TomeRthesecharacteristicsdefinethecoreconceptofluckRinthatalmost anyeventwithall“characteristicswouldberegardedasluckTznecan inventexampleswithoutoneofthesecharacteristicsthatonewouldstillcall luck Rsothereisnosharpborderlinebetweenthiscorenotionandtheoverly broadnotionNPOT Academic literature. lYVV“paper Thepsychologyandphilosophyof luck byoT–ritchardandxTSmithprovidesausefuloverviewofsome

ofacademicliteratureTmuttamnotimpressedbytheirownattemptto capturethecorenotionofluckRwhichis tfanoutcomeisluckyRthenitisanoutcomethatissignificanttothe agentconcernedT tfanoutcomeisluckythenitisanoutcomewhichoccursintheactual worldbutwhichdoesnotoccurinmostofthenearestpossibleworlds totheactualworldNworldswhichmostresembletheactualworldOT Can be found by online seach.
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W]V CHAPTER16.LUCK TheformerisfineTThelatterseemsaratherconfusedwaytosay“unlikelyR evenconditionalonknowingeverythingnotcloselya ectingtheoutcome”T

Replacingtheusual“conditionalprobability”formulationRimplicitinany realSworlddiscussionofchanceRwitha“possibleworlds”storyismerely distractingT 16.3TheBeliefinGoodLuckScale ThetitleisfromaWddbpsychologypaper by–eterRToarkeanduonathan wTqreedmanRwhichtwillbrieflydescribeNmuchofwhatfollowsisdirect quotesOTTheyareinterestedinthespectrumbetween theviewthatluckisasomewhatstablecharacteristicthatconsistently favorssomepeoplebutnotothersandisespeciallylikelytofavor oneself therationalviewofluckasrandomandunreliableT Theydeviseasetofquestions–doyouagreeordisagreewithstatements suchas

wuckplaysanimportantpartineveryone’slifeT SomepeopleareconsistentlyluckyRandothersareconsistentlyunluckyT wuckisnothingmorethanrandomchanceT tconsistentlyhavegoodluckT Theanswersareusedtoassigneachvolunteersubjectanumericalvalueon amtrwscaleTyowotherpsychologistshavepreviouslyinventedquestions toplacesubjectsonascaleforothertraitsRsuchasoptimismRselfSesteemR desireforcontrolRachievementmotivationRandsatisfactionwithlifeRwhich arefamiliarRandalessfamiliarone“locusofcontrol”explainedbelowT Soonecancomparethesubjects’numericalvaluesondi erenttraitsTzne

mightimaginethatmtrwwascorrelatedwithRforinstanceRoptimismTThe authors’conclusionisthatmtrwappearstobeuncorrelatedwithallofthese traitsexcept“locusofcontrol”Rdefinedas theextenttowhicheventsaregenerallythoughttobedeterS minedbyfactorssuchasluckandpowerfulothersversusinternal factorsRsuchasskillande ortT WhatdoesthismeaninrelationtomtrwjThepointisoneendofaperS sonalityspectrumistheview Can be found by online seach.
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16.4.SKILLANDLUCKASCONTRIBUTORSTOSUCCESS W]W luckplaysarelativelysmallroleineventsingeneralRandinone’sown lifetoo andtheotherendistheview

luckplaysarelativelylargeroleineventsingeneral–sometimesposS itiveandsometimesnegative–andalsoplaysarelativelylargerolein one’sownlifeRbutmostlypositiveT SotherearefewpeoplewhobelievethatluckplaysalargeroleingeneralR butthatforthempersonallyluckisrandomlygoodUbadormostlybadT What about my students? meforethislecturetputtomyYVWWclassthe fourstatementsaboveRwitharatherdi erentresultTTheyweremostlyneuS tralonthe“tconsistentlyhavegoodluck”statementwhilemostlyagreeing with“wuckplaysanimportantpartineveryone’slife”T 16.4Skillandluckascontributorstosuccess

tftaskedyoutoplacethefollowingfourgamesonascalefrom“pureluck to“pureskill rouletteRginrummyRbaseballRchess t’mprettysureyouwouldchoosetheorderingthavegivenTRummystarts withrandomlydealtcardsRbutmuchoftherestisskillRwhereasroulette lacksthelatterskillcomponentTlphysicalsportlikebaseballispredomiS nantlyskillinthesensethatprofessionalswillinvariablybeatamateursRbut eventhebestbattercannotcontrolwhereahitwillgoTqorchessonemight firstsayithasnoelementofrandomness–butwhataboutthechanceof youropponentmakingamistakej tnaspecificsettingNexemplifiedbyasportsmatchOonecanregardthe

outcomeasdeterminedbyfactorsunderyourcontrolN“skill”Oandfactors outsideyourcontrolN“chance”ORandinthissenseskillandluckareby definitioncomplementaryoppositesT mutadi erentexemplarRimagineyouarelearningtennisandasyouget moreskillfulyouchoosetoplayopponentsofroughlythesameabilityTYou chanceofwinningstaysaround]VJforeachmatchTThepointisthatin voluntaryaspectsoflifeRskilla ectswhatwe choose todoflittletextbook problemscannotengagethispointT SothereisamigQuestion–howtoassesstherelativecontributionsof skillandchanceinhumanlife–andhereisoneresponseT
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W]Y CHAPTER16.LUCK

sardworkRdeterminationReducationandexperienceshouldcount foragreatdeal[asregardsprofessionalsuccess]TmutRagainthe dataavailablesuggeststhatluckisalmostentirelyresponsible for which hardworkingRdeterminedReducatedandexperienced peoplemakeitinlifeT DancewithChance RSpyrosxakridakiset alTRYVVdT Note: Thebookabovecontainsmanystoriesthatcouldberepeatedin classTxyintentioninthenextversionistodiscusssomesettingswhere therereallyis“dataavailable”T 16.5Luckasseizingopportunity zneofmyfavoritequotesis Chancefavorsthepreparedmind Twouis–asteurT Thisremindsusthattheword“chance”isoftenusedtomean

opportunity wookingfordiscussionoftheideaofmaximizingyourfutureopportunity leadsoneRalasRintoajungleof“howtosucceedinbusiness”andpopSpsych selfShelpbooksRwhichingeneraltfindunilluminatingTlsthebestthave seenRtheYVV[book TheLuckFactor bypsychologistRichardWisemanis basedinpartuponinterviewswithseveralhundredpeoplewhoselfSdescribe asbeingextremelyluckyorunluckyTNyotethedistinctionfromthesecS tionWaT[studybasedonmorerepresentativevolunteersbutbasedontheir answerstoquestionsRnottheirpersonallifeexperienceOTseexpresseshis conclusionsasthefollowingfourprinciplesNandtwelvesubprinciplesRnot

copiedOT wuckypeoplecreateRnoticeandactuponthechanceopportunitiesin theirlivesT wuckypeoplemakesuccessfuldecisionsbyusingtheirintuitionand gutfeelingsT wuckypeople’sexpectationsaboutthefuturehelpthemfulfilltheir dreamsandambitionsT wuckypeopleareabletotransformtheirbadluckintogoodfortuneT ThisseemseminentlyreasonableTThoughmycritiqueisthatRstartingwith peoplewhoseelifeintermsofluckandaskingthemquestionsaboutluckR
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16.6.FROMTHEU.S.ARMYFIELDMANUAL W][ itisnotsurprisingthatoneendswithanswersintermsofluckTmutifone startedouttowriteabookonthetopic“howadoptingapositiveattitude

towardslifewillhelpleadtosuccess”andtriedtoformulatealistofmaximsR thensurelysuchalistwouldincludesimilaritemsbutwithoutmuchexplicit mentionofluck–onewouldjusttalkaboutsuccessT lnywayRitisinterestingtocontrastthispsychologist’sadvicewiththe more“philosophical”advicebyReschere merealisticinjudgementsNevaluatetheprobabilitiesandutilitiesas objectivelyasyoucanO merealisticinexpectationsNthereisonlysomuchonecandoO meprudentlyadventuresomeNdon’tbesoriskSaverseastoloseouton opportunitiesO mecautiouslyoptimisticT 16.6FromtheU.S.ArmyFieldManual Note:

ThisisfuntosaysometimeinclassRthoughitdoesn’treallybelong hereT tngivingwectureWasalivelectureRtinvitetheaudiencetoguesswhat NforinstanceOthemingsearchdatawillshowRandit’sfuntodothesame hereTttellthestudentstamgoingtoshowthemthethreeparagraphs fromtheYVVcUTSTlrmyqieldxanual dealingexplicitlywithchanceand uncertaintyRandinvitethemtoguesswhattheseparagraphsmightsayTThis willdemonstrateNtcontinueOanissueofperceptionTmecauseyouwasted somepercentofyourteenageyearson first-personshooter OgamesRto you army meansmeninuniformsfiringbiggunsTmutwhenyouareold andwiselikemeR army

meanscommitteesRsowhatyou’regoingtoseeis somethingwrittenbyacommitteeTlndhereitisT downloads.army.mil/fm3-0/FM3-0.pdf
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W] CHAPTER16.LUCK 1-79. UncertaintyRchanceRandfrictionhavealwayscharacterizedwarfareTzn landRtheyarecommonplaceTxanyfactorsinherentinlandcombatcombineto complicatethesituationTTheseinclude ldverseweatherT nhaosandconfusionofbattleT nomplexityT wackofaccurateintelligenceT prrorsinunderstandingorplanningT qatigueT xisunderstandingamongmultinationalpartnersT lnadaptiveandlethalenemyT oi cultterrainT –ersonalityclashesT nivilianpopulationT 1-80.

nhancefurthercomplicateslandoperationsTThingssuchasweatherand otherunforeseeneventsarebeyondthecontrolofacommanderTqorexampleRin oecemberWdcdRanicestormatqortmraggRyorthnarolinaRdelayeddeploymentof someelementsoftheforceinvading–anamainzperationuustnauseTtnaddition tochanceoccurrencesRenemycommandershavetheirownobjectivesandtime schedulesTTheseoftenleadtounforeseenencountersTmothenemyandfriendly actionsoftenproduceunintendedconsequencesRfurthercomplicatingasituationR buttheymayleadtoopportunitiesaswellT 1-81. Severalfactorscanreducethee ectsofuncertaintyRchanceRandfrictionT

roodleadershipRflexibleorganizationsRanddependabletechnologycanlessenunS certaintyTTimelyRaccurateintelligencemayreducethefactorsa ectedbychanceT lndasimpleplancombinedwithcontinuouscoordinationmightmoderatetheefS fectsoffrictionTsoweverRevenwhenoperationsaregoingwellRcommandersmake decisionsbasedonincompleteRinaccurateRandcontradictoryinformationunder adverseconditionsToeterminationisonemeansofovercomingfrictionfexperience isanotherTsighmoraleRsoundorganizationRane ectivecommandandcontrol systemRandwellSpracticeddrillsallhelpforcesovercomeadversityTUncertaintyR chanceRandfrictionalsoa

ecttheenemyRsocommandersshouldlookforward andexploitallopportunitiesTUnderstandingtheoperationalenvironmentRe ecS tivedecisionsRandflexibilityinspiteofadversityareessentialtoachievingtacticalR operationalRandstrategicsuccessT
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16.6.FROMTHEU.S.ARMYFIELDMANUAL W]] Soit’snot Halo Tyowtdon’thaveanythingtosaymyselfaboutmilitary mattersTTheproseaboveRoncewrittenRseemsunobjectionableandalmost selfSevidentRandthatismypointTlnyattemptRespeciallybyacommitteeR towriteoneortwopagesontheroleofchanceinsomelargefieldofhuman

airswillsurelyseemequallyblandtothereaderTlndthat’swhytdon’t trytodosoRintheselecturesT