I came across this article this morning.
I would first like to say that I did not actively seek this out to prove a point from an earlier post. The article was posted on a site I go to called Digg.com, I am sure it is still up there if you don’t believe me. The article basically says that to be a successful writer all you really need is luck. If that is the case I am screwed! I am and always have been in short supply of that. When it comes to luck, I usually fall along the lines of the famous Albert King’s song Born Under a Bad Sign. “If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”
Now back to luck. I would not say that I have not had any luck throughout my life, of course I have. I guess that lucky big break has yet to come my way, so my fingers remain crossed. With all that being said there is a little thing called quantum suicide and along with the many worlds interpretation of the universe can help explain what we call “luck.”
Apparently inside of an atom scientists found that two particles move in two different directions at the same time. Now that does not sound like anything too crazy, but let’s take a closer look. Leaving work one day a single drop of water is struggling against gravity hanging from a gutter above your head. Now if these particles inside this drop of water move in opposite directions at the same time maybe the following scenario happens. The drop does not fall, does not hit you on the head, you do not look up stepping off the sidewalk and break your ankle,subsequently you do not have surgery, get an infection and end up dying. Or the drop falls and the previous scenario plays out. What if both of these outcomes happen at the same time or none of them? This is what scientist say happens with quantum suicide and the many worlds theory. Every possible outcome plays itself out but you are only aware of the current scenario you are living. So that drop falling or not falling creates a split of maybe 5 new worlds (honestly each moment probably has an infinite number of splits), each creating a scenario where you are alive or dead. This may seem pretty farfetched but think back at your life and I am sure you can come up with a choice you made that led you to make another one and another to get you where you are today. For example, here are a series of events that I believe were the result of a single decision in my life.
In 2011, I was playing soccer and during the game I had an awkward fall where I tweaked my right knee. It did not hurt but just did not feel right. The trainer looked at it and could not find any structural damage. So I went back in and kept on playing. The very next play I made a cut and, pop, tore my ACL. I had surgery, went through rehab and was eventually cleared to do whatever I wanted. I gave up soccer for obvious reasons and focused on lifting weights and running on my own to stay in shape. I used to run about 12 or so miles a week. Eventually I had a problem with my left knee where a piece of cartilage was floating around, causing my knee to swell. So I had another surgery less than a year after my ACL surgery. After that I gave up running for a while and just focused on lifting. Once I was fully healthy I wanted to get back into shape and started playing soccer again. One day at practice I basically pivoted on my right knee, something I had done a million times before, and tore my meniscus this time. Surgery again, that made three in three years, lucky me. So I truly believe that if I had made the decision to sit out of the first practice and rest my knee I believe the above scenario would not have happened. I think the ACL reconstruction changed my gate and caused my other knee injuries. I guess the point of my sob story is that one small decision can create largely unforeseen consequences down the road. I realize this may not be a revelation so some, but the science behind it is very interesting.
Like I was saying before I am sure many of you can trace back a decision that caused this to happen, then that, and then something else happened, which gives you your current situation, however good or bad. The most bizarre thing about this whole theory is that all scenarios are possible, everything is possible. I bet there is a world where I am a famous writer making millions of dollars, with movie deals, and the fame to go with it. I am sure there are also many more scenarios where I am already dead or am scraping by as the result of some poor decisions, probably trying to become a writer.
I am not sure if you can still call it luck, but I do not know any other name for it. I guess the only way to look at it is there is another you out there that probably has it way way worse, but there is also another you that has it way better. If this is the way of the universe, it is both cool and depressing at the same time. Cool because we get to live out an infinite number of scenarios each and every day of our lives, with every decision we make no matter how small. On the flip side, it is depressing because we only get to experience one of these and the one we get to experience may not be so glamorous. Next time you call someone lucky, stop and think, their luck may just be the result of a being dealt a great spin on quantum roulette wheel.