Meditations on Change – Stacking Your Odds

There are cynical times when we think things will never change. We feel as if we’ll never get our break, because we’ve never had one before, and this is all we know. We imagine that, five or ten years from now, we’ll still be floundering through life without purpose or direction.


But if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that an event horizon can come without warning. A blogger may keep moderate traffic for years until one random person out of nowhere, linking to their site, makes it all go viral. You may meet a friend’s friend at a bar, who hears you’re looking for work and offers you a job which becomes a career that changes the course of your life. You may be suddenly given the choice to move to a new city, start a new job, and, two years later, you’ll look back with amazement that you’ve come this far, while having never seen it coming.


These things happen. And while they might not happen often, and they might be outside of our direct control, there are certainly ways to increase the odds of them happening: meeting new people and new groups, acquiring new skills and being a person with something to offer the world. Every possible connection is a possible opportunity. It’s not as if you’re loading the dice, but you are rolling more often.


When you’re young there are few of these opportunities. For example, a young man may send out a dozen applications out of high school, or even college, only to have two or three interviews, let alone job offers. That isn’t much of a choice. The young man may feel confined by his circumstances, and reasonably so. Because he has not lived any other lifetime, he may assume that, well, this is it. This is life: just struggling for a break.


However, if that young man were to take the advice above, develop himself a bit, learn a few practical skills and mature a little, then he’ll see more opportunities almost coming out of nowhere. For example, sending out a dozen applications may come multiple interviews and multiple job offers. Instead of being a mere candidate trying to sell himself to a company, he can flip the script so that he interviews the company to see if it’s worth his time. Now he has choice, agency, overcoming a past where his decisions were reduced to a handful.


All these choices create alternate and divergent realities, which further diverge with each choice (assuming, for the moment, that all our choices aren’t an illusion). It’s important to internalize this notion: that these branching paths are happening and well within our grasp. Nothing is static. Nothing is determined. You are not stuck.


Two years ago, I was given a choice to leave my home, my job, my friends and start anew across the country. I chose to go. What followed were a plethora of more choices: where to live, where to work, what to do and who to meet. In reality, I had those choices at home as well, but I never took advantage of them. Now, it’s as if I can benches unfolding, ever diverging along the path, potentialities that I had never realized before.


After a fraction of a lifetime filled with frustration, many of us in the red pill world retroactively look at our past choices along our previous path, wondering what life would be like had we taken the pill sooner, done things differently, or corrected our mistakes before they ever happened.


Sometimes I too wonder: what if I had joined the Navy out of high school? What if I had instead gone for a degree in engineering or chemistry rather than the soft, mushy science of psychology? What if I hadn’t given up my instrument, or chosen to be an aircraft refueler over a service technician? Where would I be and who would I be?


Would those worlds be better than this one? There’s no way to know. If I had joined the Navy then I could have very well married a succubus who would have divorced me and taken my military retirement. Or maybe not. If I had gone into chemistry then I might have stayed in the blue pill world, failed with women, and liked The Big Bang Theory. Or maybe not. The hypotheticals can cut both ways.


At best, that kind of thinking is a fantasy, can be a fun fantasy, but ultimately a pointless one. At worst, you can force upon yourself unnecessary regret, and further paralyze you when you come to another junction, because you’re so afraid of making a “bad” decision again. Don’t lose yourself in the musings of a fictional alternate past, because it is both past, and fiction.


I might have made a “mistake” in choosing psychology over chemistry, but with enough work I have been able to salvage a good life with my intelligence and my ability regardless. Any man can turn a misfortune into an opportunity. A man with sufficient mastery can sway those odds in his favor. A man with an eye to the possible will see potential everywhere. With all three the chaos of life becomes navigable.


Through his journey, remember that it isn’t important that you capture the “best” of all possible worlds, because you will never find it. All that matters is that the world you’ve chosen is a satisfying one.



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