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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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Sep 4, 2008
What, you never read Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Compensation"?

You maybe thought you invented this concept?

Even Ralph probably wouldn't claim that!

 
 
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Sep 4, 2008
Two comments:

1) All the anecdotes you point to are things that we know about only because they were covered by the media. It is my impression that the media favours reporting on the reversal of fortunes. Political and celebrity scandals and down troden successes make good entertainment... er... news?

2) I hope you are wrong. I consider my life up to now as being very lucky (great wife, kids, job, health, family, ect.. ) but I still have a ways to go. Look for man hit by falling anvil in the news at some point... if you're right I am due.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
the observation is true enough. the important idea to me is how to manipulate the controls to steer the good luck when you want it. fwiw, luck, or karma, i think is spread out over multiple lifetimes... i think its safe to say that moist robots have to get the program right before they can upgrade.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
The harder I work, the luckier I get. - Samuel Goldwyn
 
 
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Sep 4, 2008
I am shocked that you would so casually reference something you appear to know nothing about.

Magic Johnson has said that getting HIV has changed his life in many very good ways. He is giving back to his community. He is spending time with his family. He is taking care of his body. All of this has caused a tremendous boost in his self-esteem.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
http://in.news.yahoo.com/139/20080904/808/tnl-asian-elephant-kicks-heroin-addictio.html
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
So, by your "theory" luck is a coin toss or a dice roll, and while there may be short-term oddities ("good luck" or "bad luck"), when viewed over a long period of time, the randomness evens out?

I think someone already thought of that, and named it "The Law of Averages".

 
 
Sep 4, 2008
What about someone who dies right after birth? What about starving people in Africa, the fact that I eat every because LUCKILY I was born into a good family in the United States.
 
 
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Sep 4, 2008
Sure, a lot of people have both 'good' and 'bad' things happen to them in life, but not everyone gets those things to match up. In fact, millions of people around the world seem to prove the "it'll all balance out" theory is way out of proportion...

On one side of the spectrum we have several hundred million people in Africa starving, living short lives in poverty and then dying of violence - I can't think of much that happened in their lives to balance out their suffering.

On the other hand you have a smaller set of people like Paris Hilton who grew up slathered in wealth and having every desire answered. The worst she's ever gone through is a few hours in jail and star on a reality tv show - which she got paid for. Millions.

I'm not complaining about my personal situation, I'm just pretty sceptical of your generalizations, Scott.
 
 
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Sep 4, 2008
Sometimes you "inherit" your luck from your parents. For example, aren't I lucky to be born in the US instead of in some strife-torn, starving region of the world, where "good luck" means merely having some food to eat each day and not being diseased or not getting killed by soldiers of warring factions.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
If everyone had a Luck score (which could vary during one's life), I'd have no problem in accepting that the total Luck scores for everyone is 0 at any given moment. I don't agree that everything evens out for every individual. You got a bunch of people who'll live the good life for all their life, and then you have the millions of people in 3rd world countries who'll never have enough to eat and will die of some horrible disease.

AR
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
You are forgetting about Keith Richards. Rock star, sleeps with countless women, consumes enormous amounts of drugs and alcohol - not much bad luck, there to be fair.
 
 
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Sep 4, 2008
Many things in the world happen as a coincidence, hwever, there is also a "cause and effect" law that makes something happen some way: people with more money and power would engage in stuff which ruins their life; people who have to struggle since early in life know how to work hard so they achieve more.
Many things are mistaken as luck while they're not luck at all, they're driven by a human force/will.
People are born un-equal. That's pure luck.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
Or maybe your luck level is set at a lower level if you're not one of the 3 criteria noted by Dilgal. Or you inherit your parents luck level. Or maybe it's all part of the re-incarnation part of life. and you only bring forward the luck you had at the end of your prior existence... Too much to think of without more caffeine...
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
After all your talk about economic data, it sure seems silly to be looking at anecdotal evidence for this theory.

But I know you just like stirring up controversy.

Can the anecdotal evidence here be explained by regression to the mean? I suspect so.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
I guess Bill Gates is well overdue for some bad luck.
 
 
Sep 4, 2008
Consider the HIV positive baby, or the child that dies from leukemia. That's what, bad luck spread out evenly over a short period of time? Or did they use up all their luck in the womb?
 
 
 
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