Chance...

An honest man cannot ignore the profound role that chance plays in his life. I do need to give credit to Buffet for reminding me of the side I often forget. I think it explains a lot of the political divide we have in our country. I guess the answer is that both are right and both are wrong. Chance is real, so is hard work and they each play varying roles in every person's life. One certainly cannot succeed without hard work, but one also cannot also look back at life and argue that fortune did not play a role.


Buffet acknowledges had he been born black or born a woman expectations would have been different and he wouldn't have been nearly as successful. Jay-Z also talks about how lucky he was just to make it out alive from his own crime-ridden neighborhood.

Said differently, everyone buys a lottery ticket with some small sliver of hope, but only one will win. Life is similar in some regards (though success is much more likely if you do "buy the ticket.")


I am reminded of the words of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes).

"Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones.

I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.

Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.

Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them."

However, ultimately the perception of events is in the mind of the individual. I think that's why Buddhism has been so helpful. It reminded me that my outlook determines my happiness. As Buffet demonstrates in the video below, had be born in India with the same skills, they would have been much less useless, but he would have done it regardless of the payout. He says he would have traded had the payout been in seashells. His own life reflects that. He certainly does not live like a billionaire.

"Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do."

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."

and most elusively....

"Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun--all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun."


(start at :50)