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I have a theory that everyone is born with the same amount of luck, but it gets distributed unevenly. Some people have their best lucky days in childhood and run out of good fortune by the time they enter the job market. Others struggle early on and strike it rich later in life. Call it the Magic Johnson Effect. He had the perfect life and then contracted HIV. Or take most famous politicians or celebrities; their highs are almost perfectly matched by their lows. Even lottery winners tend to attract tragedy. It is as if the universe is trying to smooth out things.

You also know people who have never had a truly great year or a truly horrible one. They coast along at average.

There is no science to support my theory of luck distribution, but the anecdotal evidence is abundant. Take for example all the world leaders who spent some time in jail, either before or after hitting the big time. Or consider all the musicians who had lines of groupies and then died in a plane crash. Is it all a coincidence?

Yes. Or else our so-called reality really is a computer program.
 
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0 Rank Up Rank Down
Dec 2, 2008
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Sep 9, 2008
I once had a similar theory that rarely anything really bad happens to pessimists because they perceive about everything that happens to them as 'bad'. Optimists, on the other hand, have heaps of bad luck until they finally lose it and accept the negative. I thought it was the universe's way of keeping everything even, at least through one's own perception.

Then I snapped out of it.
 
 
Sep 7, 2008
I think everyone has the same amout of good luck and bad luck, but in the cases of celebrities and millionaires, they take larger risks and they are more extreme, meaning that obviously when luck strikes, it's just intensified. For a normal guy, losing his wallet would be bad luck; for Donald Trump, losing out on a multi-million dollar deal is bad luck.
 
 
Sep 7, 2008
that's so weird i have had such a similar theory. I'm a christian so my theory is that God distributes the fortune. I've often been watching people's lives to see how evenly their fortune is distributed.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 6, 2008
I feel so lucky I could almost post four or five lines. Nope. Only one.
I feel so lucky I could almost post four or five lines. Nope. Only two.
I feel so lucky I could almost post four or five lines. Nope. Only three.
I feel so lucky I could almost post four or five lines. Nope. Only four.
I feel so lucky I could almost post four or five lines. Nope. Only five
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 6, 2008
Speaking of luck, I've been trying to post to this thread for an hour now. All of a sudden it works. Why? I've crashed Firefox and Chrome, IE 7 and Safari, Mozilla and Seamonkey trying to post to this messhuginnah site over the weeks or months and I still have no idea why sometimes I get two lemons and a cherry and sometimes a big fecking heap of quarters.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 6, 2008
What Adams is describing is the Bundy Luck: when a good thing happens, a bad thing must happen to balance things out. This is the gambler's belief that he or she is "due" for good or bad luck. Luck doesn't work that way. It is random. But you can never convince it to stop working that way. It's like your life is a sitcom and you're the main joke, eh, Mr. Bundy?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 6, 2008
Don't confuse good results with good luck: the luckiest man in the world might be a pariah living on dump in Cairo. His fellow garbage pickers wonder: "Why does he always find the good junk?" Because he's lucky. He has twenty fatal diseases which are not killing him.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
Nice theory, but it doesn't account for Keith Richards.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 5, 2008
All of your examples involve people in the public eye. I submit that the child born in Ethiopia who barely avoids starvation for about 5 years and then dies of AIDS was not handed the same amount of "luck" at birth as Bill Gates.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
but if it is a computer program then its Random number generator is only psuedo
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
There is a scientific explanation. Luck is simply random occurrences that have either positive or negative effects. Imagine tossing a coin where each heads is a good luck event and each tails a bad luck event. Overall you'd expect to get a roughly equal amount of 'bad luck' and 'good luck'.

The fact that different people have these different volatility profiles (some people have really good luck followed by really bad luck, others just coast) is explainable as well. Depending on the situation that you're in (career, lifestyle, etc) a random effect can multiply up non linearly or stay linear. Essentially if you pick a high risk - high reward lifestyle you'd expect each 'luck' event to have a bigger effect on your life than if you pick a low risk - low reward lifestyle.

A high risk strategy might be budding pop star that meets a record exec randomly will have fantastic 'good luck' but then when he gets dropped for whatever reason it's really bad luck. A librarian doesn't have the same upsides but doesn't have the downsides.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
And speaking of Steven Seagal, he just disproves Scott's theory. You can't tell me that he hasn't been shoveling great fistfuls of jammy luck down his gullet from day 1.
 
 
Sep 5, 2008
"There was a great line in the movie Under Siege 2. Luck favors the prepared mind."

Dude. That was lifted from Louis Pasteur. Not that I would diss Steven Seagal.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 4, 2008
This isn't a whole lot different from the null hypothesis that luck is randomness - you'd expect clumping in some cases, and an even distribution in others. The Law of Rationed Luck doesn't add much to that I'd say.

On the other hand, some people are born with a chronic disease, spend their early years in and out of hospital and die before adolescence. It would seem such a life is a counterexample to the theory unless all childhood cancer sufferers happen to be lottery winners.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
This could explain the "Batman curse".
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 4, 2008
addrhsrerg
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 4, 2008
See comment below first:
What you mention supports Scott's argument. Those that make mistakes early, may learn from them and not repeat them later. To belabor the point, those that do not experience difficulties early in life may pay for it later.I am a soft believer in, "from bad many good things may come" especially when, the bad is self inflicted.

We each have some good and some bad luck. Equal amounts? I don't think so.

I've had what seemed to be terrible things happen to me that led me down a path to some of the best things. How could we have compassion or wisdom if we did not experience some "bad luck"?

Seems too much "good luck" early on can develop the kind of character flaws that naturally gravitate toward "bad luck" later on. Witness many rock stars or spoiled rich kids.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
The vast majority of these people or individuals who are lucky, are not be qualified to change a car tire. Many times their fame and fortune is a curse. Those that win the lottery generally have no ability or experience managing money so the dollars escape them like the written word to a drunken lemur. Some of your lemurs can type apparantly.

Luck, as you have defined it, is when chance meets opportunity. The rest is random. Yes, some people have it thrust upon them. Even stupid people can recognize the obvious; the rest learn from other’s fortunes, good or bad.

A previous poster mentioned vegetarians. A bumper sticker was filmed on a family member of the new VP candidate. “Vegetarian: old Indian word for bad hunter.” Scott, I know you are a vegetarian by choice. Not that there is any thing wrong with that. :)
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
Oh, this is !$%*!$%*!$ Please. Bill Gates will not die broke. Believe it. Nor will Steve Jobs, Donald
Trump, Warren Buffett, Oprah, or Martha Stewart. There is no regression towards the mean with these people. And many more besides. This is ridiculous. You make your own luck.
 
 
 
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