"As I’ve stated so many times before...God doesn’t play dice with the universe"
~ Albert Einstein
Over the past few weeks, I have found myself sleeping in a hotel bed far more often than my own bed while gallivanting about the country.
Not that I’m complaining...
I take full responsibility for the design of my own life... if I didn’t want to be away from home... I simply would opt to stay put.
However, staying put is simply not in my very nature.
Like so many other people in this world, I am an explorer, wanderer, and an adventurer. I truly enjoy meeting new people, spending time with old friends, and seeing places generally reserved for magazines and post cards.
As a frequent traveler, I often find that things on the road are not quite as comfortable or convenient for me as perhaps I might have found at home.
As it so happens, I recently found myself drenched in a few thunderstorms where raindrops were as big as marbles, stranded in an airport when my connecting flight was cancelled due to mechanical failures, and subjugated to the wails of a newborn baby from the seat behind mine (now a middle seat juxtaposed between two large men) on my rescheduled flight.
While these occurrences are somewhat unfortunate and quite annoying to me at the time, I have slowly come to realize that certain events are simply unforeseen and unavoidable.
Weather, in the short-term at least, is truly an act of God. There is snow, sleet, rain, lightning, hail, tornadoes, sweltering heat and bitter cold happening somewhere on this earth at all times, every day.
There is nothing I or anyone else can do to accurately predict or control our exterior environs. Weather happens.
Yet, there are a seemingly large majority of people whose outward disposition is predicated by the current climate.
As mentioned above, I recently found myself under siege by a thunderstorm making its way across the sky. I was not alone during this attack, as several of my fellow citizens were forced to take refuge under the same storefront awning to avoid a soaking.
While waiting for the cloudburst to cease, I listened to my fellow citizens rant and rave how this storm had so inconvenienced them. By the tone of their voice, they somehow believe that God has singled them out for individual punishment not unlike the trials and tribulations suffered by Job during biblical times.
These were important people who had things to do and places to go. This downpour was a great inconvenience to them.
The reality is that some water fell from the sky in the same way it has since the beginning of time.
As I stood there silently listening to their complaints, I couldn’t help but think that it wasn’t necessarily the rain or the delays that it caused, that upset them so... it was the fact that the situation at hand was simply outside of their immediate control.
Somewhere along the way in life we’ve been taught that if we do something there will be a predictable result.
The Latin term for this type of transactional event is referred to as "Quid Pro Quo"... literally translated as... "This For That".
Sir Isaac Newton took this concept to a new level when he formulated the laws of motion. He taught us that for every action, there is a definable and predictable reaction to the original action.
If we insert enough coins into a vending machine and press a button, a product will be dispensed.
If we place our hand on a hot stove, our hand will be burned.
If we go to college and complete a degree in computer science, then there will be several companies offering us a job upon graduation.
Certain people find great comfort in the idea of a scientific response of action and reaction, do something, and get a predictable result.
Now imagine those same people doing something and getting a completely different result...
These are the people who booked their flight months in advance... arrived at the airport early... only to discover that their flight had been canceled. They seemingly did the right thing... but yet they somehow got a bad result.
Such is life... it happens all the time... bad things happen to good people...
There was an interesting experiment that I once participated in...
Inside a bag, there were 5 marbles which were identically shaped. Four of the marbles were white and one was black.
Before drawing a marble from the bag, the participant was asked to choose the color of the marble that they would select.
Since there was a 4 to 1 chance of drawing a white marble from the bag, the proper declaration should be "white". This is a good decision.
If the participant happened to select the one black marble, the decision was still good, the outcome, however, was bad.
If the black marble is placed back into the bag and the experiment is re-run and the black marble is once again selected, then a bad outcome occurred twice. Doubly bad.
The black marble is once again returned to the bag.
Before the third pull, the participant now declares, based on the two previous pulls, that they will change their decision and select "black" as their choice. This is a bad decision. Yet when they draw a marble from the bag it is once again "black".
This was a good (fortunate) outcome to a bad decision.
With a good outcome from a bad decision and the fact that 3 black marbles had been selected in the previous 3 draws, the participant then continues to opt for "black" in subsequent draws... of course meeting the eventual fate of mathematical probability... losing 4 out of 5 times over the long haul...
The outcomes in the above experiments are based solely on probability... we can make a good decision or a bad decision and with each decision a good or bad result will follow. In the end however, the result is completely out of our immediate control.
So why is it then that we personalize bad results when we know in our hearts that we made the right decision?
The bad results are many times just a matter of probability, a random act of God, or sheer misfortune. It’s not personal.
Additional, why do we then start to make bad decisions based on a few random outcomes?
Just because I arrived at the airport early and found no lines at TSA and my flight was running 15 minutes late... doesn’t mean that in the future I should show up at the airport 20 minutes before my scheduled departure and still expect to make my plane. That’s a bad decision based on a previous good outcome and if I continue this practice I will surely miss a future flight.
In the end, we can’t control outcomes. That’s left to mathematics and God.
We can only control the decisions that we make and our reactions to the results that follow...
Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse as we work to ensure that all of your outcomes with us are good ones.
Jim Kalb President
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com
Twitter - @OptiFuse