Coincidence: predicting vs inventing

It turns out human beings are excellent story-telling machines. We have thousands of thoughts that go through our heads everyday.

Occasionally, someone will pop up in our minds that we haven’t thought about in a long time. And then suddenly, we get a call from them. “What a coincidence.”

But it wasn’t a coincidence (perhaps low probability). We weren’t surprised when the other 100 people we thought about that day didn’t call us. But it is innate in our nature to ignore data and evidence to fuel an internal narrative—our story of how we see the world.

We can wait a long time until the future aligns with the stories we choose to tell. In other words, we wait to be at the right place at the right time with the right resources until the future has a predictable outcome and then call it luck, coincidence or chance.

What if instead we work to invent a future, one where we align our stories with what happens. We pause and think that’s interesting, why did this happen instead of being upset about an unforeseeable event or unfavorable outcome. Was there always a chance this could happen? Was it low probability?

We tend to blame out environment when thing go wrong. But we don’t give the enviroment any credit when things go right. We credit our personality. We credit ourselves.

Too many of us are seduced by the idea of waiting to have a self-fulfilling prophecy and, consequently, we ignore the evidence, the data, the work right in front us.

By putting ourselves back in the driver’s seat, we can move towards a future where we want to go. It enables us to do more work, to get out of our own way. It allows us to change something and make it better.

Ironically, we are at our best when we are working to invent a future (one that we can be proud of), we become better at predicting what happens next when we’re working towards desired outcomes. We’re not waiting for things to happen to us. No, we are busy making things happen.