Monday, May 18, 2020


If there are no guarantees in life, then hard work, perseverance, ethics and other personal factors may still be necessary for success, but they cannot, by definition, be sufficient. And so the search for a personal factor that is, in and of itself, sufficient for success continues. It is motivated, I believe, by a general understanding that it must be there, somewhere. This is, after all, what a number of social judgements communicate.

But success is rarely simply a personal choice. Mainly because the world isn't set up to operate on purely personal actions. While a recluse may live or die solely by the results of their own labor, and be beholden to no-one, for members of a given society, there are a lot of people who have choices to make. And there is no viable way to remove the freedom of people to prefer things based on factors that are important to them. While it's common, especially in business, to think of customer preferences as something that businesses have a high degree of control over, the reality is less clear-cut.

But, I think that for many people, a world that can apparently be controlled, even if the feeling of control is only an illusion, is more comforting than one that comes across as random. Although perhaps "capricious" is a better word, and one that I hear often. And so I wonder if that's not what lies at the heart of things; the idea that there is always something in control, and it's better that this something seem reactive, rather than simply chaotic.

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