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I’m just lucky

My brain is funny sometimes. I have this thing that whenever there’s an issue with anything I’m involved in, I immediately start feeling like I’m doing a bad job.

That issue can be minor, like a one-day drop in sales or traffic, or it can be major, like when we lost 50% of our revenue a few years back. My reaction is always the same.

When things go badly, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and should probably get a job (instead of trying out this entrepreneurship thing). Of course, just mere days before – when things are going well – I feel really smart!

My brain is basically rewarding or punishing me based on some events happening (somewhat) randomly, which may have nothing to do with my actual long-term performance.

I’ve been having similar thoughts in the difficult times we’re living in right now. Working in IT, myself and lots of other people haven’t been affected that much. Some companies have even seen their sales grow.

Many of us have been working remotely for years (myself included) so our work environments haven’t changed that much either.

So, have we managed to prepare better than anyone else?
The short answer is no.

I’ve been observing my brain trying to build narratives backward, looking for past decisions that brought me to this point. I must have done something smart, something that helped, right?

Not really, not in this case. Mostly, it’s just luck.

I’m no smarter than I was just a few months ago and no smarter than people who work in travel, events, or other industries that got hit the most. I’ve just picked a different industry to begin with.

I’m trying to actively reject those thoughts of reward / punishment based on current events. I am grateful for the specific situation I’m in, don’t get me wrong, but I do realize that most of it is by chance.

Over time, rewarding your lucky choices only makes you take even more chances in the future, even when odds are against – which might not be ideal.

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  1. Not only you. You’re not alone with this issue.
    This last sentence “Over time, rewarding your lucky choices only makes you take even more chances in the future, even when odds are against – which might not be ideal”, is the quintessence. What do you mean exactly with it?

  2. Imagine if we would work as a simple AI that is trained on a dataset, when the machine is right, the confidence level for that behavior would increase.

    If the basis for the choice that it made was to “throw a dice”, it would just use the same technique more in the future and imagine how stupid it would be if it managed to be lucky a few times, it would keep throwing dices xx times until would learn that it doesn’t really work.

    Same for us, I guess is worse to arrive at a great outcome through “bad” behavior, rather than not arrive at all, because you might need to un-learn that.

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