23 Jun

Healthy people rarely understand what a massive head start they have over their unhealthy peers.  They don’t really have an incentive to care about this fact.  It’s still annoying!

Why not be realistic about success?  Odds are drastically improved by: good health, good intelligence, good education, good connections, solid financial grounding, good looks, political cunning, supportive family, strong work ethic and grit/resilience, relevant experience, luck, high expectations, early adopter status, physical size, a history of success/victory, and so on.

While some might see this as a fatalistic message, it needn’t be taken that way!  I see it as an opportunity to move the odds in my favor by the only reliable means available to me.  That’s not fatalistic — quite the opposite.  It maximizes efficacy.  What’s fatalistic is to deceive oneself about the true nature of the situation in order to feel better about one’s less than ideal position.  That’s the dark side.

There are many romantic stories about people who ‘came from nothing’, but many, if not most, big names did not come from nothing.  It makes sense, too.  If someone starts from a high level and works as hard as the guy who starts from nothing, then presumably the more fortunate guy will go much further!  If one has no giants to stand on the shoulders of, one won’t see as far.  Sometimes it’s just that simple.  It becomes more obvious when one compares a scientist starting in 1900 with one beginning in 1650.  If they are judged by the same time-independent standard, the 1650 guy will not match up well no matter how outrageously brilliant he is.

When one looks closely at the romanticized cases, one tends to find that a given person was simply more intelligent than their peers, or they were exposed to certain issues from a very young age, or they stumbled into just the right circles at just the right time in life, or they had a specially devoted friend to lessen their mundane burdens, or they were free of usual obligations of labor, or they had an obsessive interest in a most fertile area of study, etc.  The most extreme cases may feature all of the above and then some.




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