Chance is a fair villain


Today, one of my friends happened to mention something about the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This being a friday(meeting-day), I was in a particularly reflective mood and I tried to recollect what I had felt about the book. It was a well-written book with a smooth, flowing style, easy language and a slightly poetic touch to it. The story has a hint of idealism colored with magic and emotion.

It was a book which in many ways espoused ideas that were completely different from mine. The idea of irrational optimism and the notion that when you set out to do something that you are “destined” to do, then everything will fall in place smoothly is something that I have always found contrary to my experience. The idea that the universe somehow wants us to succeed also doesn’t hold water with me.

I don’t believe that the universe or this earth or for that matter, any inanimate thing in it cares about what our destiny is. It is something that is up to us to find out and even when we do that it is not a choice which can be verified on the touchstone of luck. It is up to us at every single point of time to judge whether we made the right choice. Whether we did something that we might regret in the future. Whether the path we have chosen will bring us happiness and fulfillment.

When I see someone whine about how everything, even “God” is working against them, I feel a little bad. I think the truth that chance is blind and doesn’t discriminate between people is something that should allow us to see things with a certain detachment. All we can do is skew the odds in our favor with hard work. It is also important that we learn to enjoy the process of achieving our ends as much as the ends themselves. All great people did that, and I don’t believe that true success is possible without such an attitude. Also, with such an approach to life, I don’t think it is possible to fail. Chance can do all it wants to do, but if we enjoy playing the game as much as we do winning at it, then there is hardly anything that can go wrong.

Sometimes, I feel that I am not good enough to do what I do, but then I think, at least I have the heart to put in the extra effort. I would be absolutely lost without that. Besides, I enjoy spending long hours thinking and turning around stuff inside my head. I might be a little slow with the results. But, at least, I enjoy getting them…

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