meticulous control, careefree, luck

Watched world’s greatest dad, got me thinking before I fell asleep last night.

There seem to be two ways to live life.

The one way is the mountain climb and seems especially prevalent among people at talented individuals like the people I’m surrounded by. and the Asian mother model.
The other way which I have only been able to articulate in a math equation is the heaviside step function, which I will term “involuntary spotlight”

The mountain climb is self-explanatory. Individuals who are really talented try to climb higher and higher, try to reach the top.
The “involuntary spotlight” method is basically some person who decides to live a life he likes or pursue doing something he is really good at, and somehow he is forced on the top for some reason.
I’m thinking about bill gates, george washington, people who just somehow ended up on the top. but these are the people who remained on top for the duration of their lifetime. they never returned back to gravity.
Most other people sort of fall into the category of obscurity. Step functions are determined by a time value. They turn on and turn off at specific time values. Like a lot of people, maybe their time to the top is never, or maybe it’s after their lifetime.
The common theme is that they’re not planning for it. They never expect it.

Questions I have which maybe you can answer for me:

Question: Young people tend to live the mountain climb more because we’re young, we’re drawn towards risk, because this is the time of our lives to explore and try. we love adrenaline. sometimes, we have to take a risk if we want a reward.
But not everyone reaches the top. so what do we decide and realize when we won’t make the top? That point in life when you realise you’re just going to be somebody
All the professors, graduate students, vice presidents whose mark on life is defined by some long forgotten paper, contract in the archive.  What do they do?
Ans: Looking at it now with a fresh pair of eyes, there does seem to be a problem with my question. I assume people have a crisis when they don’t make the top. That’s not necessarily true. That may be true for my very egocentric self.

Question: There are also so many people in this world who are trying to live the mountain climb life which begs the question aren’t they all just falling into obscurity after their short mortal lives. Are the outcomes of these two approaches really that different?

Question: The most that people who live this involuntary spotlight life is self-satisfaction. It seems to be a rule of thumb in this world that people who wants something is more likely to get it. It’s always nicer to be on a higher elevation. You get a better view, you can nicer air. In life, a high-paying job, a higher social standing means more opportunities, more choices. So is it better to just be at a higher point?

Question: The previous questions does also make assumptions about the control we have over our lives. How do we actually make choices? It’s all based on pros and cons right? But we live in such a complicated system that we can never determine what the net pros and net cons are. We would like to believe we know all the outcomes. but the truth is that we don’t.
We tend to always want to make deterministic choices. it’s very human to want a definite answer.
But the world of probability and randomized algorithms tell us that, even a randomized algorithm has a very good chance of success.
This goes against an intuition of successful people meticulously planning every step. that intuition is probably false. success is luck. failure is also luck.

executive summary:
not everyone reaches the top, what is their pov when they come to that realization.
so many people trying to reach the top, don’t you just become another history book entry in the end? are the outcomes different?
the involuntary spotlight sounds a lot more noble and above the dust. but being somewhat closer to the top does have its benefits.
we think we control life but randomness is more a part of our lives than we think. success is luck. failure is also luck.


life, how to live mine.

been involved in many conversations about my future career lately, which is why i’ve been writing all these posts about life. it’s sometimes ironic to realize that despite all that philosophical rationalized-thinking, you can’t really convince yourself to be happy if you’re not.

i don’t know why i’m feeling that particular stress now, out of all possible times in my life. the stress that i can’t do anything or everything. maybe it’s because a career path is a commitment of a lifetime, forty years. i want to be able to do what i like. and with all these five year expectations, set in place by my mother, i feel like some of my own dreams will not be realized.

it’s not money. it’s family duty. it’s not an avoidable part of my life. it will come up. i have to face it. it’s a reality. my parents always get the feeling i don’t want to do it. and it’s true i don’t want to do it at this point in my life. but it’s something i believe i am responsible for so i will do it.

there are two new things i learnt these days: always be open minded. the worst thing you can do is close off yourself and having already decided a career path. people our era will be switching jobs constantly, relocating constantly. you’ll never know until you try it and there’s always something you can learn from everything but always look for the common areas. that’s the transferable skills which you can take with you regardless of your job. business is one of those areas which i’ve been very close-minded about. i was wrong.

i made a ton of demands on my future job in previous posts that i have to do good, and not create noise. but sometimes we have to look at things on a more relative scale. finance, businessman aren’t evil people. some are. Yes. but we can’t make generalizations. it’s similar to how we shouldn’t make generalizations about cs majors being all nerds. of course there’s absolutely good but you can also think of things in the context that if someone else less moral than you was doing your job, the world would be a worse place.

my protocol for deciding on a career
1. being able to fulfill your responsibilities to yourself, your family, the world.
2. do something you like
3. always be openminded to new things.