LTE for Portfolio — morra2024

Success is merely luck…

To the editor:

Success is a luck-based random variable. Hence, the advice of famous entrepreneurs will only be useful to the lucky. In her opinion article “The Podcast Bros Want to Optimize Your Life,” dated August 3rd, 2018, the author, Molly Worthen is enamored of the self-improvement advice of entrepreneurs and self-help gurus. Despite briefly acknowledging that “too much faith in self-improvement glosses over structural injustices that place real limits on what’s possible for many people,” she makes no further mention of the inapplicability of the gurus’ advice to average people. Furthermore, she only continues to promote the entrepreneurs’ greatness. In doing so, she becomes a victim of the survivorship bias. 

Exemplary cases of the survivorship bias are all famous Hollywood movie stars we know and love, e.g. Leonardo Di Caprio or Brad Pitt, who, despite their diligence, were still lucky at the end of the day. Success might have come to them simply because they were the most physically attractive candidates. These lucky few made it by virtue of countless factors completely unrelated to talent. Thorough personal research as a longtime passionate entrepreneur has led me to a simple conclusion: the odds of becoming famously successful out of an ever-increasing global population are massively against us, less likely than even the 1 in 200 million chance of winning the lottery. Gurus typically lack sufficient data that would take into consideration not only those who made it, but also those who failed in becoming successful. That results in an inability to make accurate recommendations to large audiences. The unfortunate truth is simple: not everyone wins in the game of life; the public will never hear of the lessons learnt by the thousands who failed auditions for Pitt’s roles for example, which in turn leads to the skewed perception of the probability of any venture succeeding. 

Awareness of the survivorship bias is meant to make us skeptical of moneymaking schemes based on the success of actual (still lucky) moneymakers. We might not achieve global fame, but we are already unique miracles that have defied the odds: by the time we exist, we have survived 1 in 400 trillion odds. Our focus should be on our individual success formulas, which are unique due to everyone having different resources at their disposal. If even that is to fail, the evolutionary primary goal of species’ procreation and caring for the next of kin will surely motivate the rest of us (who aren’t Brad Pitt) to do the best we can.

 

 

Gallery | This entry was posted in LTE for Portfolio, Morra Portfolio, morra2024. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to LTE for Portfolio — morra2024

  1. davidbdale says:

    Awareness of the survivorship bias is meant to make us skeptical of potential moneymakers.

    Where’s the intentionality in this claim? Who “means us to”? Are we “meant to” be skeptical of ACTUAL moneymakers? Or are we meant to be skeptical of moneymaking schemes based on the success of other ACTUAL moneymakers?

    Despite the unlikelihood of achieving global fame and success, we are already unique miracles that have defied the odds

    Maybe lighten the rhetoric here? We won’t achieve global fame, but we’re already unique miracles.

    If even that is to fail, the evolutionary primary goal of species’ procreation and caring for the next of kin will surely motivate the rest of us (who aren’t Brad Pitt) to do the best we can.

    Maybe a mild joke? If our “sure thing” computer app fails, or we bomb the audition, we can always give birth to the next Brad Pitt?

    Just a thought. Once you go to “we’re all miracles,” you can pivot to almost anything.

    Like

  2. davidbdale says:

    Your 2nd paragraph meanders, Morra. It should follow up on the point made about survivorship bias at the end of P1; instead, it deviates for a meditation on long odds, and then eventually picks up the thread again.

    Could you flip the top and bottom? No one exemplifies survivorship better than Hollywood actors. Of the thousands who could do their job, the stars turn an early break into longevity by virtue of countless factors not related to their talent. Work your way back from there to your “top of paragraph” observation that “the odds of becoming famously successful out of an ever-increasing global population are massively against us.” Does that work?

    Like

  3. morra2024 says:

    Professor, may I have feedback again?
    I addressed the feedback I received the first time.
    Do I identify the source of quotation in the 1st paragraph?
    Is my 3rd paragraph’s point clear?
    Are my paragraphs inflated? My first paragraph was definitely beautifully succinct prior to editing, I hope I didn’t inflate it or any of the other 2.

    Like

  4. davidbdale says:

    P1. This is a very fine paragraph, Morra, dense with claims and beautifully succinct. You need to identify the source of the quotation, which SEEMS to come from the Worthen article but should be identified as such. If those are her words, you might also need to explain in a word or two how she knows of the existence of those injustices and names them but somehow also ignores them. That’s pretty contorted.

    P2. Not quite as brilliant but also fine, this paragraph is still over-inflated. “suffering from the absence of the breadth of statistical analysis” could easily be replaced with a quick positive construction. “The bias” is not immediately recognized as an echo of “survivorship bias.” We’re still left to wonder what made Pitt and DeCaprio so lucky: I imagine most of us will conclude you mean they were prettier than the competition. You could say so or guide us to your own version. Your “possibility, probability, and difficulty” construction parallels the “may or may not” problem. Which do you want us to concentrate on here: the likelihood or the unlikelihood?

    P3. Not sure I understand the distinction between demotivating and disillusioning. But I’m very sure the survivorship bias does the opposite to those who embrace it. IDENTIFYING that it exists would disillusion us by pointing out that it’s an illusion. Right?
    —By the time we exist, we’ve already DEFIED the odds, so: We’re miracles, having survived 1 in 400 trillion odds.
    —Our life formulas for success are unique needles in a haystack because we each have different resources at our disposal.

    Your last sentence is a nice bit of rhetorical pathos, but it will probably not satisfy the truly driven entrepreneurs for whom simply having kids will not suffice. You must mean that advice for the thousands who didn’t get Brad Pitt’s roles.

    Impressive work, Morra. Thank you for inviting me to participate.

    Like

  5. morra2024 says:

    Feedback Please!
    Professor, if it is not too late, could I get some feedback on my work regarding the brevity, clarity, and efficiency? True to form and my M.O., I took my time editing my draft, consistently trying to use all the techniques covered in class, such as “Try to Say Something,” “Not Only, But Also,” and “Citation Mechanics”. Therefore, as a result of taking my time, I redid not just the first paragraph, but the second and third also, trying to condense the text as much as possible, while simultaneously preserving its persuasiveness.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s