Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #7 : The Ovarian Lottery.

This week, we will discuss the Ovarian Lottery.

First of all, ask yourself...

What much of your personal success is a result of your own effort ? Most people would say about 60%-80%....

Now, consider this mental experiment...

You have two possible choices to determine which  family you are to be born into.

Choice (1) You are born to a professional couple who live at Holland Village area.
Choice (2) You are born to a single parent in a rented HDB.

Suppose you are born under (2) unless you make a sacrifice of future income, how much of your future income would you be willing to sacrifice to switch from (2) to (1) ?

The original exercise asks a person how much taxes would he be willing to sacrifice to move from Bangladesh to America.

The point of the original exercise is a good one because it tells successful folks to be humble and be more willing to help others who are born into the wrong zip-code. It does this by illustrating that less than 1% of our personal successes are actually owed to us naturally and comes largely from luck and our environment.

But the author does not consider that the ovarian lottery has a less than honourable application.

This is where a person uses the excuse that he born in the wrong circumstances to justify the wrong life choices he has made in his life and demand that others support him.

We've seen this before.

Some flake messes up and takes a business risk that makes it hard to recover from because he is too lazy to study the odds or overly focused on personal grooming than to run his company. After that he says that he failed because he's not like his successful friends who grew up in landed property and then blames them for not helping him when he needed a bail-out.

I admire the first application of the concept of the ovarian lottery, but like all concepts the idea of the ovarian lottery, like eugenics, can be abused in the wrong hands.

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