Monday, August 29, 2011

The Lottery Analogy

I've told you the lottery ticket analogy, right? It's really important that everyone understands this:

If you want to win the lottery, you need to do something that makes that possible; in this case it's buy a ticket. But you'll probably lose and that ticket will probably be worthless. However, you cannot win the lottery without it. And who knows? You might, actually, indeed, win.

Here's the rules:
  1. You can't win without playing.
  2. Every time you play, you get a new chance to win, independent of the previous chances.
  3. Doing the right thing on the wrong day is worthless. Even if you do everything perfect and you get really lucky, there are still externalities that will almost always snatch the victory from you. You will then see someone doing the exact same thing as you on another day and succeeding.
  4. When you realize that you picked the right numbers on the wrong day, get over it and Play Again. Don't allow your past to paralyzed you.
  5. You will officially lose far before you personally know it. Make sure you know what failure and loss looks like and then accept it. Never fool yourself into thinking you have a winner, acknowledge the loss and move on as quickly as possible.
This is true in all aspects of life: you want to have a famous pop song? You need to do something that makes that possible; in this case work quite hard and make a song. But you'll probably lose. That song, will probably be listened to by nobody. However, you can't have a famous song without it.

Want to be a successful author or get a good job or make money on the stock market or be a famous scientist? The same rules apply.