Random Shake of the DIe

Life Even More Random Than You Think

Donald Steiny Blog Leave a Comment

The world might seem horribly random.

In the last couple of months, Islands in the Carribean and the Atlantic have been damaged or destroyed.  A hurricane has devastated the Florida Keys.   Wildfires hot enough to melt iron have turned many thousands of homes to ash, as well as hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness.  Floods have killed thousands and displaced millions in India. Muslims are being slaughtered or driven from their homes in Myanmar.   A wealthy real estate investor shot almost 600 people, killing nearly 60, in Las Vegas.

It’s all so random.

A few days ago I was giving a talk to a group of folks over 40 that were changing their careers.  I pointed out to them that 70-80% of jobs are never advertised and that most people get their jobs by chance.  Many people thought about it and realized that was true for them.  Research shows it is, by far, the primary way people get jobs.

As job seekers, on asked, “you seem to be telling us it is just random!”  He sounded bummed because he knew from experience that I was right.

But, even if it’s luck, we can change the odds.

First off, if you are searching for something, after you have looked everywhere you can in one place, it makes sense to look somewhere else. If you can’t find it in one room, check another.

Second, if you are looking for a knife and fork, you would look in the kitchen, if you were looking for a book, you would choose a room with bookshelves.

In other words, don’t limit where you look.  If you are looking for a job, if you want to sell something, if you hope to learn something, or if you are looking for the meaning of life you could meet the person who you need in a laundromat, at Toastmasters, or even in a bar.  Every person is a door into another world.

By the second, I am pointing out that you need to be where what you are looking for is.   For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, go to the SF Bay Area, Austin, or Bangalore.  If your goal is to be a fashion designer or thespian, go to New York. If you want to be in the movie business, go to LA.

Jobs are like rent-controlled apartments.  There are a finite number of them.  Usually, someone has to leave one for them to become available.

You will usually find a rent-controlled apartment by knowing someone that knows that it will be vacant.  The more people you know, the more likely it is that you will know someone that knows someone that is giving one up. The same goes for jobs.

Connections are the primary way we find information of any sort. It’s how we meet our partners. It’s how we locate a rare CD …

It Really is Random

We can change the odds, but it is random and out of our control.

None of us will ever have control over our environment or will we know what the future holds.  I love something that Hellen Keller said

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

People who think they are in control of things are kidding themselves.  It is a well studied psychological quirk called, “the illusion of control.”  We all experience it from time to time, but the people who feel it most strongly are susceptible to depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems.

Oddly, the thing that works best is to discover your values and try to be the person you like to believe you are. That may require taking some chances. But, it is other people that are going to be able to provide you with most of what you need.   If you do this, you will wind up in a place that is most in sync with who you are.  Being true to your values will allow you to make the connections you need.

Discover your values and aim to the best you can be.  Change the odds for yourself.


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