When I look at things such as career, family, and relationships, I see variables. A lot of variables. These variables are what make these things enjoyable, good, or miserable.
Take a career, for example; What are you optimising for in your career?
Is it a financial benefit? Prestige? Autonomy? Novelty or adventure? These are what you see when you say, oh so so the job is my ideal job. You look at features that interest you and variables that the job optimise for and see that they fill the gap for you.
Now, what if there is no job that is ideal for you? What if, after spending X amount of years, you no longer want the job? The job is still the same. Same or better novelty, financial benefits etc. What happened to the job not being your ideal job anymore?
Our perspective changes.
“Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.”
What do you do when there is no ideal job? It is yours to create.
A job or career in its entirety should be moulded to fit us. The goal is to have careers that conform to our peculiarities, not us conforming to the jobs.
While I tend to want to control as many of these variables as possible, I have realised that it is a fool’s errand. (still working on this tbh).
These variables we see usually fit neatly when explaining why something/ someone is successful or not.
“The narrative fallacy leads us to see events as stories, with logical chains of cause and effect. Stories help us make sense of the world. However, if we’re not aware of the narrative fallacy it can lead us to believe we understand the world more than we really do.”
While we can see features or reasons why X happens, it is usually not the entire story, even though we almost always fall for the narrative that because of X, Y happened. This is called the narrative fallacy.
The narrative that X is successful because he came from a wealthy family, attended a top school and is a computer nerd. This obviously plays a significant part; however, it is not the whole story.
Have you wondered how many people have the same qualities but are less successful or not successful at all?
This is where luck, fate, grace, universe or whatever you want to call it plays a part.1
When you want to control for every variable out there, you don’t want to allow luck/serendipity to work. If you do that, you are operating based on what the world should be rather than how it does. The word ‘should’ is essential. Because we think the world should work in a way that it doesn’t, this sets us up for disappointment.
“Life never unfolds as we expect it to. Almost never. Embracing the inherent uncertainty in life is how we can give ourselves room to be lucky. Embracing it means taking action even if you are unsure of the outcomes. It means letting go of the absolute control that we seek. It means learning to accept reality as it unfolds instead of staying and wishing for a different kind of reality. When we do this, luck soon knocks on our door.”
And since you want to have luck/ serendipity to work for you, you allow for that.
“What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.”— Joseph Tussman
This could mean anything out of your control. Most times, it is not replicable. Example born in the US in 1955. Guess who? Bill Gates