How Much Success Is Luck, and How Much Is Skill?

Brutus writes, in reference to the Rate Me page:

You are quite above average, you have a short midface, strong chin, and robust bone structure.

You’ve gotta be genuinely delusional if you think you’re average looking. Your Game has nothing to do with you getting women, they’re just attracted to you in the first place because you’re good looking. You look like a high school bully.

You know what? I think you might be right?

It is a blow to one’s ego if one has been successful with females to think that the only reason that happened is because of God giving you good looks and not because of the wonderful game you think you have. Which you may not even have at all! However, trust me, success with females has a strong tendency to create its own game. Also if you start doing well early enough, it can go to your head in a very good way. I think I am hot stuff, and I have since late high school or junior college. So what? Some people, especially girlfriends, don’t like that. So what!

But I have met so many people with chronic low self esteem that always dated back all the way to junior and senior high school that I feel grateful  that I like myself. Being a douchebag isn’t optimal, but it’s far better than hating yourself and besides, it’s a lot more fun.

Sure there are arrogance and douchebag issues, but I try to control the arrogance because it’s a shitty emotion. When you are arrogant, you make others feel small. I have seen quite a few times when I did this to other people, males and females. At least in my adult years, it did not feel good. I could see myself making this person feel like a complete scum and I would try to get a handle on the arrogance, but arrogance can have a mind of its own and sometimes it is hard to stop it. I have developed all sorts of complex strategies over the years to do this. Maybe in another post I will discuss them.

The high self-esteem that I got as a late teen and early adult – mostly due to success with females but also due to correspondingly becoming an extremely popular guy for the first time in my life – has never left me! It went into me like the Catholic Church grabs your soul when you are born Catholic.

Most of my life past college has been more or less of a huge failure in so many ways, but I just tell myself that I tried my hardest, which is more or less true. I’ve fucked up a million times and I assure you that there’s way more to come.

At times I have led a life so lousy that many people assumed I must be depressed: “I mean look at Bob’s life. What a lousy life he leads. It would depress anyone! How could you lead such a life and not be depressed?” Yet when I heard that, I would say, “Actually I am not depressed at all.” People who ask astonishingly how that could  be and I just say that I expect nothing whatsoever from life anymore and I assume every  day will be nonstop horrible, so if anything good at all happens ever, I feel like throwing a party.

And also, I have to admit that it is also  down to high self-esteem. Because when you’re great, you’re great. When your life is going well, you’re really great and of course your life proves this. But even when your life is awful, the thing is, if you think you’re great, guess what?  It turns into, “Yep my life sucks but it’s not my fault and anyway, I am always great no matter what.” So high self-esteem in itself wards off depression.

Anyway the point is, my life has been good in a lot of ways, but it’s been horrible in a lot of ways too that I almost never talk about except maybe with a therapist, if then.

Yet despite it all, through thick and thin, I think I am great. I have no reason to think this, and as I get older I have less and less reason to, but the self-esteem train rolls along nonetheless. Now my looks are apparently shot by age, but I still think I am 24 years old and gorgeous, and everyone wants me. It’s not true at all, and in a way I know it, but I don’t care.

Women my age still gush over my looks because apparently there’s not much competition anymore, and I beat most of what’s left, but most women, especially younger ones, just think I am a creepy old man. The vibe I get from them all the time is that I am not attractive to them. No matter, I still think I am a Greek God. Self esteem flies right on in the face of reality.

As a counselor, long-term low self-esteem has been the one problem that I simply cannot seem to fix. I have clients and friends with this issue and I just can’t make them better no matter how hard I try. The low self esteem hit them in junior and senior high and it never went away. Some are physicians. Others are models. All have college degrees. Some do great with the opposite sex. But no matter. However many good things happen to them nothing sinks in and the low self-esteem never seems to go away. It is like it is in with cement.

The strange thing is that my high self-esteem feels the same way. It seems like no matter how lousy my life is or how many bad things happen to me, I will always think I am great no matter what. That is because I do not rely on the world’s opinion of me for self-esteem. I could care less what the world thinks of me.

I don’t really care if people like me or hate me. There have been times in my life when it seemed like I was hated or disliked by most people, but no matter. I just tell myself that they are wrong and I’m still great anyway. Sometimes this high self-esteem scares me. It feels like I could be homeless and still think I am great. Or in jail. Or in prison. God forbid I end up in any of these situations but I wonder how lousy my life would have to get to where I don’t think I am hot stuff anymore.

No one wants to believe that they succeed simply on inborn traits and it’s a luck of the dice and a gift from God otherwise they’d be failures like everybody else. Everyone wants to think that they got all of their success at no matter what by pure skill and not ounce of luck and sheer gifts.

It’s quite humbling to think that whatever success you had in life was pretty much a gift of God and the whole idea you have of, “I did it all myself because I kick ass,” is the height of delusion. But maybe success or failure is a lot more down to a roll of the dice than anything else. Maybe it hardly matters how we act. If the Gods smile in our favor, good things will happen no matter what. If God crapped on us like a seagull, it barely matters how hard we try and almost nothing is going to work.


Filed under Personality, Philosophy, Psychology

8 responses to “How Much Success Is Luck, and How Much Is Skill?

  1. Ed

    Robert, I’ve just caught up with your recent stream of autobiographical posts, and my unsolicited advice is that you should just go ahead and write your autobiography. You are the right age to do this, you seem to have enough time, and you are good enough a writer and have had an interesting enough life that there is a chance that someone would publish it.

  2. Ed

    On recent the autobiographical posts, Rock T made an interesting comment. I don’t think he really intended to say this, but it came out that American culture is so anti-intellectual that if you are smart and find yourself in an American high school, you literally have to become a drug dealer or something like that to fit in.

    I’m about a dozen years younger, and pretty much just stayed a nerd instead of trying to become one of the cool guys, but I don’t think that is necessarily a better strategy. If the culture is really that anti-intellectual, the smart guy is going to get screwed eventually in some way. Ran Prieur on his blog made the interesting comment the other day that if he could do his own life over again knowing everything he knows now, yeah there are lots of things he would do differently in college and high school, but he didn’t think he had much leeway at all to change his adult life or make it better.

  3. Jason Y

    I would like to say it isn’t true, but because I do like some women based on looks alone, then I’d have to say those women might like guys because of looks alone. However, before getting too cruel and politically incorrect, remember, men and women are turned on by different looks, each with thier own taste.

    For instance, some woman some guy might dislike due to fatness might seem curvy with big tits and ass to another.

  4. Jason Y

    Long hair doesn’t seem to be in style much now, though it seemed to make a comeback around 2008. Now all the guys have these ridiculous “boy beards”. I suppose the chicks like it, cause it seems like everyone’s trying to grown one. Also, some guys, especially balding ones, shave thier head nowadays.

    • Jason Y

      Then again this is the south. In NYC or some other place, the hairsyles may be different as people are more open minded. You might see afros on white guys etc… One white professor at my college has a big proud afro.

  5. Havenstein

    Great post Robert, thank you.

  6. Confidence is everything! Does confidence breed success, or does success breed confidence?

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