What does it mean to be lucky? Does luck even exist? Is the world really all about chance or fate, or maybe the world is a lot more rational and determined than we think and the issue is that we don’t understand as much about the world as we think.

This is the start of an informal paper on luck. For now, it is mostly simply a list of related terms and concepts. To be continued, but this is the start.

I see a short list of a cluster of related terms or concepts:

  1. Luck
  2. Chance
  3. Fate
  4. Will
  5. Randomness
  6. Probability
  7. Statistics
  8. Accident
  9. Variability
  10. Determinism
  11. Causality

And more. In fact, a subsequent section provides an extended list of terms which relate in some way to luck.

Words and phrases related to luck

  1. Absence of skill
  2. Accident
  3. Accidental
  4. Against — Run up against
  5. Ambiguity
  6. Amulet
  7. As you sow, so shall you reap
  8. Attitude
  9. Attitude — Negative attitude
  10. Attitude — Positive attitude
  11. Bad luck
  12. Ball bounces — Way the ball bounces
  13. Beginner’s luck
  14. Being in the right place at the right time
  15. Best-laid plans — The best-laid plans of mice and men
  16. Beyond our control
  17. Bias
  18. Blessing
  19. Break, breaks
  20. Bump into
  21. Card — Pick a card, any card
  22. Cards — In the cards
  23. Cause
  24. Causal
  25. Causality
  26. Caution
  27. Certainty
  28. Chance
  29. Chance — Take a chance
  30. Chance — Taking a chance
  31. Chance — Taking chances
  32. Chance encounter
  33. Chance on
  34. Chance upon
  35. Charmed
  36. Choice
  37. Choice — Good choices
  38. Coin — Flip a coin
  39. Coincidence
  40. Come across
  41. Come upon
  42. Competition
  43. Confluence of events
  44. Consequences
  45. Contingency
  46. Contingent
  47. Contradictory
  48. Control
  49. Control — Beyond our control
  50. Cookie crumbles — Way the cookie crumbles
  51. Corruption
  52. Corruption — Fix is in
  53. Could happen, may happen, might happen, should happen, shouldn’t happen
  54. Coup
  55. Create
  56. Crop up
  57. Cryptic
  58. Cup
  59. Curse
  60. Cursed
  61. Dame Fortune
  62. Danger
  63. Dark — Shot in the dark
  64. Dart
  65. Dart — Throw a dart
  66. Destined
  67. Destiny
  68. Determinism
  69. Develop
  70. Dice — Does God play dice with the universe?
  71. Dice — Roll of the dice
  72. Dice — Roll the dice
  73. Discovery
  74. Distribution (probability, range)
  75. Divine providence
  76. Divine will
  77. Does God play dice with the universe?
  78. Doom
  79. Easy
  80. Efforts — Personal efforts
  81. Element of uncertainty
  82. Encounter
  83. Enigma
  84. Error — Trial and error
  85. Events — Confluence of events
  86. Eventuality
  87. Everything happens for a reason
  88. Expectations
  89. Expectations — Rational expectations
  90. Fate
  91. Favor
  92. Favorable outcome
  93. Fix is in
  94. Fix is in — corruption
  95. Flip a coin
  96. Fluke
  97. For no good reason
  98. Forecast
  99. Foreordain
  100. Fortuity
  101. Fortune
  102. Fortune — Dame Fortune
  103. Fortune — Good fortune
  104. Fortune — Lady Fortune
  105. Fortune — Wheel of fortune
  106. Four-leaf clover
  107. Free will
  108. Full upon
  109. Future
  110. Gamble
  111. Game of chance
  112. Gift of the gods
  113. God’s plan
  114. God’s will
  115. Godsend
  116. Good choices
  117. Good fortune
  118. Good luck
  119. Good reason
  120. Good reason — For no good reason
  121. Handwriting on the wall
  122. Happen
  123. Happen upon
  124. Happens — Shit happens
  125. Happenstance
  126. Hard
  127. Hard luck
  128. Hazard
  129. History
  130. History — Past as prologue
  131. Hope
  132. Horseshoe
  133. Imagine
  134. In my stars
  135. In our stars
  136. In the cards
  137. In your stars
  138. Incidental
  139. Increase your odds
  140. Indeterminate
  141. Inexplicable
  142. Influence your future
  143. Inscrutable
  144. Invent
  145. Jeopardy
  146. Jinx
  147. Judgment
  148. Judgment — Bad Judgment
  149. Judgment — Good Judgment
  150. Just my luck
  151. Karma
  152. Kismet
  153. Lady Fortune
  154. Lady Luck
  155. Leg-up
  156. Lick — Just my luck
  157. Lot
  158. Luck
  159. Luck — Lady Luck
  160. Luck of birth
  161. Luck of the draw
  162. Lucked out
  163. Lucky
  164. Lucky shot in the dark
  165. Lucky stars
  166. Magic
  167. May happen, might happen, could happen, should happen, shouldn’t happen
  168. Might happen, may happen, could happen, should happen, shouldn’t happen
  169. Materialize
  170. Miracle
  171. Misfortune
  172. Mistake
  173. Mystery
  174. Natural consequence
  175. Negative attitude
  176. Obscure
  177. Odds
  178. Opportunity
  179. Past as prologue for the future
  180. Peril
  181. Personal efforts
  182. Pick a card, any card
  183. Plan
  184. Plan — The best-laid plans of mice and men
  185. Portion
  186. Positive attitude
  187. Predestination
  188. Predetermination
  189. Prediction
  190. Predilection
  191. Preordained
  192. Preordination
  193. Probability
  194. Prosperity
  195. Providence
  196. Puzzle
  197. Quantum fluctuations
  198. Rabbit’s foot
  199. Radioactive decay
  200. Random walk
  201. Randomness
  202. Rational expectations
  203. Rationale
  204. Read your palm
  205. Right place at the right time
  206. Right place at the right time — Being in the right place at the right time
  207. Risk
  208. Roll of the dice
  209. Roll the dice
  210. Roulette — Russian roulette
  211. Run into
  212. Run up against
  213. Russian roulette
  214. Serendipity
  215. Shit happens
  216. Shit outta luck (SOL)
  217. Shot
  218. Shot in the dark
  219. Shot in the dark — Lucky shot in the dark
  220. Should happen, shouldn’t happen, may happen, might happen, could happen
  221. Simulation
  222. Speculate, speculation
  223. Spin the wheel
  224. Stab
  225. Stars — In my stars
  226. Stars — In our stars
  227. Stars — In your stars
  228. Stars — Lucky stars
  229. Statistics
  230. Stub toe on
  231. Stumble into
  232. Stumble on
  233. Stumble upon
  234. Success
  235. Superstition
  236. Take a chance
  237. Taking a chance
  238. Taking chances
  239. Thrive
  240. Throw a dart
  241. Trial and error
  242. Trip over
  243. Uncertainty
  244. Uncertainty — Element of uncertainty
  245. Uncertainty about causality
  246. Unexpected
  247. Unexplained
  248. Unknown
  249. Unlucky
  250. Variability
  251. Venture
  252. Wager
  253. Wall — Handwriting on the wall
  254. Way the ball bounces
  255. Way the cookie crumbles
  256. What goes around comes around
  257. What’s past is prologue
  258. Wheel of fortune
  259. Will
  260. Will — Divine will
  261. Will — Free will
  262. Windfall

Luck as a value judgment

Luck and chance seem like direct synonyms, but chance seems more neutral, with no clear bias in favor of one outcome or the other, while luck is either good or bad, with a clear bias in favor of one outcome or the other.

Chance seems more a synonym for raw, mathematical probability. What is the chance? That question seems more an inquiry as to what might happen rather than an attempt at a value judgment of any outcome.

Probability vs. statistics

Probability seems more an assessment of the likelihood of one outcome or another while statistics is more a summary or enumeration of actual outcomes when an activity or experiment is run a significant number of times. How often did an actual outcome occur, as a fraction of all outcomes?

Is luck a physical reality or a social and mental construct?

Is there some quantum mechanical physical force or phenomenon at play with luck, or is it wholly a social and mental construct, something that we imagine and even believe in despite its lacking any physical manifestation outside of the human mind?

Good question. Worth pondering.

Is there some underlying, foundational phenomenological mechanism that drives chance and luck, or was Einstein right to suggest that God does not play dice with the universe?

Notes

  1. Impact of luck and chance on society as a whole, in aggregate.
  2. Impact of uncertainty and ambiguity on society as a whole.

Written by

Freelance Consultant

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