A gentleman on Reddit– and everywhere else– posted that the New England Patriots, down 21-3 at one point, came back and won, proving that you should never give up, no matter how unlikely your success seems.
Kind of illogical really. Everyone’s excited precisely because this kind of turnaround is incredibly rare. It doesn’t actually “prove” you should never give up. In the normal sense of “proof”, it only proves that there will be anomalies and there is always a dim hope that you will be one of them. Would you want to make life decisions based on these odds? I will quit my current job because there is a .4% chance I will get a better one? I will break up with this lovely girl because there is 1.3% chance I can find a better one, who will also love me? I will vote for this politician because he will prevent a terrorist attack in my home town, even though there was only ever a .002% chance of that occurring?
Don’t ignore the fact that there is a harm in obsessively following a course of action that has a only a microscopic chance of success. The most obvious harm is the waste of time spent by someone who has virtually no chance of success. Think of the hours and hours spent by marginal talents on trying to compete with far more talented athletes for a position on the varsity team. Imagine all of that time spent enhancing other skills that were far more likely to provide real rewards, like learning a trade, or taking courses, or even reading worthwhile literature, or volunteering at a homeless shelter or a food bank, or at church or school, or your neighborhood. But there is also the harm of repetitively absorbing failure and subservience and inferiority. It is not for no reason that we sometimes tell people to stop subjecting themselves to inevitable failure and learn to accept things the way they are.
There is another aspect to this: without the thousands and millions of wannabes, there would be no competitors, no infrastructure, no pool of adversaries that allow the top talents to eventually cash in on a mind boggling scale. Go to the Little League games, the skating and gymnastics competitions, the track and field events: before anyone gets to the big public crowd, most of your audience consists of parents or friends or relatives or classmates of your competitors. Without them, you would have been nothing. Without them, no coaches or infrastructure, or training equipment, or fields or gyms or rinks. And without all those weaker competitors, there would be no competition. Yet there are almost no real rewards for those weaker competitors.
Unless they learn to accept the con job offered by the sports establishment: keep trying. Never give up. Work hard, and some day you too can win. It isn’t true. Without the gifts, you will never win.
You get to be used.
[whohit]Luck and the New England Patriots[/whohit]