Luck isn't real

Luck isn't real

indiedev, psychology

Your body and your mind are you and you are them. Your body speaks to you through instinct, your mind speaks to you through reason. You feel in control of your mind because reason is weak, you don’t feel in control of your body because instinct is strong.

Body to mind coercion is the default state. Strong ancient instinct is a natural winner, which is why you eat and play more than you should, and exercise and work less than you should.

Mind to body coercion is slow and painful. Convincing your body to do something it doesn’t want to takes time and effort - new habits have to be built from scratch, old habits have to be resisted and then forgotten.

Both body to mind and mind to body processes are happening all the time inside you, and sometimes they can also reinforce each other. This loop can also often happen subtly, via the distortion of the lens through which you parse reality.

Suppose your body wants to feel like X. This will make your mind filter reality through the lens that makes your body feel like X. Suddenly ideas that make you feel like X will instinctively seem right, and ideas that don’t will instinctively seem wrong.

As more ideas in your head are serving X, this in turn will make your body seek out X even more, which will make your mind filter for X even more, which will strenghten the loop further. Because you are what you practice becoming, this process ends with you becoming an avatar of X.

X can be a lot of things. For the purposes of this post, let’s suppose it is “lack of control”. If your body wants to feel like it’s not in control, it will automatically make your mind filter reality so that ideas that make you feel like this seem right.

Because the mind is weak, any idea that is merely objectively true will coerce it. For instance, luck. Take the following statements:

  1. There are lucky events that happen that are outside of any one person’s control
  2. If someone is successful it was in small or large part due to such lucky events

Both of these statements are objectively true. But they are not pragmatically true, because the idea of luck feeds your body’s need for lack of control, which makes you parse reality through a lens of lack of control, which further feeds your body’s need for lack of control, and as the loop plays out you will become an avatar of lack of control, which is a person who lacks control.

Objective truth is scientific truth, concerned only with objective reality, reason and logic. While pragmatic truth is darwinian truth, concerned with fitness, or only what is true enough to lead to better outcomes in the future.

In this case, the only way to break the loop is through active, conscious rejection of the idea that luck matters or is important. You have to psyop yourself into the belief that luck isn’t real to not become its avatar and to eventually gain the pragmatic benefits that come from not believing in it.

Many people have gamed out this process instinctively - which is incidentally what allows them to be successful - such as contemporary philosopher and part-time streamer, FĂ©lix Lengyel:

When you don’t believe that luck matters you are rejecting your body’s temptation to not be in control, which in turn makes you look at reality through the lens of what you actually control. xQc’s gaming example here is perfect. Seeing an opportunity as opportunity is a skill that increases the more you do something, but it also increases the more you believe you are in control.

The more you believe you are in control, the more you’ll look for things that you control, and the more you’ll affect the outcomes of whatever you’re doing. Rejecting luck thus is a pragmatically true idea because it coerces your body into parsing reality through a lens that gives you more power to affect it in your favor.

Ancients often spoke of destiny. Luck and destiny are both concepts used to explain that which happens outside one’s control. However, luck is indeterminate and destiny is determinate. When you get lucky it’s a random event, a statistical anomaly, it just happened. When you are destined for something, you either become worthy of your destiny and reach it or you are a failure. One idea is clearly more pragmatically true than the other.

Consider Eric Barone’s words:

Which indie game developer will more likely succeed: the one who believes himself destined for success who will not stop until he becomes worthy and succeeds, or the one who believes it’s mostly down to luck and that it just happens?