Randomness is delightful, empowering and beautiful. But it’s also neglected, shunned and feared. We humans simply don’t enjoy not having the answer. A lack of back-story drives us quite batty as we search for the reasons why the good and the bad conspire against us.
And it sends us towards some of our worst decisions.
We will ignore facts and scientific evidence over story when given the opportunity. We learn and live by narrative, so the story that sounds the most detailed and the most intriguing often wins. Duncan J. Watts explains this in his book, ‘Everything is Obvious* (*once you know the answer) as thus:
So powerful is the appeal of a good story that even when we are trying to evaluate an explanation scientifically- that is, one the basis of how well it accounts for the data- we can’t help judging it in terms of its narrative attributes.
We choose a great fable over the hard bite of fact. That means we’re often grasping around, trying to find rhyme or reason. We’re looking to the meaning in life to provide us some answers about who we are. And we’re asking “the universe to provide” because the hardest thing for a person to handle is the realisation we had nothing to do with what just happened. Or will be able to influence it in the future.
The irony of course is that in our desire to know and have the back-story we understand we diminish our understanding of what has occurred in favour of something we can grasp. Whether it is true or not, we chase the relatable tale as our answer.
Rocks in space- why aren’t they good enough?
The ever glorious Tim Minchin asked “isn’t this enough?” with his story, Storm. We’re surrounded by a world that is breathtakingly beautiful. We’re beings that get to enjoy it for a short time. And yet, we steal away the love, joy and happiness of being here for that little moment with the ridiculous desire to justify everything. We seek to know to the point where we invent stories to control it.
We don’t stop and admire the rocks and the space, the light and actual majesty of our existence. Instead, we wrap it allegory until the sense we want to make makes no sense at all.
In doing so, you don’t merely rob the randomness of its day in the sun. You also rob yourself of accountability and opportunity.
If you expect the universe to provide you wonderful things, you fail to acknowledge your own achievements when they are reached. And when the universe doesn’t provide, you feel cheated or consult the tarot cards or find some other justification to mitigate the reality.
But there is so much to be gained by viewing the rocks in space as rocks in space. And in taking the ownership of your destiny back from the universe. As terrifying as that may seem on the outset, it’s actually quite comforting. Because when there is no master plan or happy little mythology to go along with what we would like to have happen, we become free.
We become free because finally, we’re in charge.
Luck isn’t probability or maths. It’s a dead bunny’s foot
There is a layer of protection we place around ourselves. Its effortless art and pretending we have it all figured out. It’s lattes on Instagram and vacations in exotic places. Everyone is extremely busy trying to look as un-busy as possible.
Give me a dynamic, sweaty and unapologetically busy person any day.
Forget the theatrics of pretending life is swinging from divine to wonderful. We know it’s bloody hard! Besides, it’s an insult to the effort we put into things and the pride we should take in accomplishment.
Have we become so privileged that we have forgotten what hard work gives us? That we would want to diminish our efforts by glorifying the quiet moment at the coffee shop and write targets on the wall that espouse working a day a week?
As you hand all the credit over to a seemingly easy life, you down play the effort you have put into your business and your life. You take away the sweetness of the fruit of success by denying the work you have undertaken to get where you are.
Where is the sense in that?
Own your luck and forget about needing to externalise the success. Stop attributing it to anything other than what it is- pavement slogging, nail-biting, tummy twisting plain hard work. Yes, you may get to a point where you can work only one day a week and your main preoccupation is hunting coffee. But you didn’t begin that way, did you?
So stop perpetuating the myth.
Forget about giving the universe or luck a persona. It is a completely neutral, uncaring entity that does not have your best interests at heart. Nor is it maliciously targeting you with the failure wand from afar.
What you are dealing with is a projection of your own mind. You are facing challenges and some of them you will win, and some of them you will lose. The only real control you have over that is the effort you put in and the attitude of your response to the outcome. That’s all there is, so get used to it.
Pause a little each day. Make space for moments to happen without the clutter of meaning and intention.
Give yourself credit where credit is due.
And enjoy that not all things need to be explained, packaged, marketed to you or summed up in a 22minute episode.
Start loving the randomness- and see where that takes you.