Social Question

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Is luck a skill, and can it be cultivated?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30877points) September 5th, 2010

Golfer, amateur or pro, makes a hole in one. Is it luck or skill?

Answers of: “It’s a combination of both” will be soundly rejected.

That’s the same as saying “Luck can be cultivated”… Get it?!?!

And if Luck can be cultivated, then how?

I say, that Pure Luck cannot be cultivated. If it was, then it wouldn’t be Luck. Any time that one increases the odds in their favor (through practice, discipline, or odds) then Luck has been forsaken in favor of “weighting the scales”.

True Pure Luck, is like winning the lottery without buying a lottery ticket. Anything less is pseudo-luck, and thus not lucky at all.

The pool shark knows what to gamble, and who to gamble with, based upon experience and earned skill. The betting horseman knows what to gamble and who to gamble with based upon experience and earned experience. Is that Luck?

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63 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

Making the most of the opportunities one is presented with is a skill that one can cultivate but plain dumb luck? That is just plain dumb luck, I think.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I think so too @lillycoyote. And that “plain dumb luck” can be good or bad.

lillycoyote's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I happen to know quite a bit about plain dumb luck; the crazy good kind, the just plain bad kind, and the weird, freakishly bad every day kind that makes you feel like the universe just enjoys messing with you and to messing with your head.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Neutral “How do you show that luck was ever involved?”

What do you call it when a complete novice triumphs over a professional?

@lillycoyote Yeah. It’s like luck (good or bad) must come without any input on the part of the participant. It’s like Manna from Heaven, or Tragedy from Ignorance.

Luck seems to be the antonym of Karma.

Neutral's avatar

If the novice triumphs over the professional then clearly he/she is not a novice? The novice is obviously skilled. If it was chance, then show me chance without assuming it?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You’ve obviously never pursued the art of Billiards.

Neutral's avatar

I haven’t, what are you trying to say?

Can you show me luck in any situation without assuming that it must be luck?

lillycoyote's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies No, it’s the “Cosmic Pig.” That’s what my friends and I call it or him or her. The “Cosmic Pig” is the being who occasionally dispenses good and but mostly dispenses bad luck.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@lillycoyote Knowing this, I shall decide to EAT THAT FUCKING PIG at every opportune moment. Rather than being eaten of course. Yikes! What could be worse than being eaten by a pig?

@Neutral Billiards is a refined skill. It takes decades to appreciate the nuances of the challenge. Dare I say that it is possible for a novice to triumph over a seasoned professional and use the excuse of skill as the reasoning? I dare not say such nonsense.

If it were to happen, then it must be by the play of luck and luck alone.

Neutral's avatar

If you say billiards is a refined skill then this statement is false because if this statement were true, the novice wouldn’t be able to triumph over the seasoned professional, yet, the novice did. The novice used his physical abilities to beat the opponent. If you say otherwise, then show me luck, otherwise, this reasoning is nonsense.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Luck is: a novice triumphing over a professional.

Neutral's avatar

Luck is: Chance
Luck is: Good fortune.

A novice triumphing over a professional is a skill which is attributed to the physical abilities of the human being. If you say otherwise, then show me chance and good fortune at play? I only see what is physical, I don’t speculate on the unknown. I don’t assume anything.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Are skills developed by chance or good fortune?

Neutral's avatar

Skills is an ability, it doesn’t have to be always developed. Neither chance or good fortune is at play. Again, if you feel chance and good fortune is at play show me it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

So if skills are developed and neither chance or good fortune has anything to do with skills, but Luck is: chance and good fortune, then how does the novice triumph over the professional by virtue of skill?

Neutral's avatar

Where do you see me say that skills are developed? I never said skills are developed. I said skill is an ability, it doesn’t have to be always developed. How else do you think the novice was able to triumph over the professional? If skill had to be developed then the novice wouldn’t be able to win, yet, the novice did win.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Would Michael Jordan have skills in basketball if he had not previously developed them?

Neutral's avatar

Why do you keep bringing in different examples? The Michael Jordan example is the same as the novice in billiards. I asked you a question prior. Please answer it without giving a question answer to a question. If the novice was able triumph over the professional, and since the novice did not develop his/her skills to beat the professional, how can you possibly say that was luck?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Because luck is made manifest when no apparent skills are to be found.

Neutral's avatar

Again, if the novice triumphed over the professional then the novice obviously had the skills to beat the professional. It also shows that skills don’t need to be developed, hence the novice winning.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How does one amass skill without ever played the game?

Neutral's avatar

Skill does not need to be amassed, the novice triumph over the professional is clearly showing that.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Where did I claim you invoked Deity?

Neutral's avatar

I never said you claimed that I invoked a deity?

lillycoyote's avatar

o.k. Back to your corners kids. @RealEyesRealizeRealLies You clearly stated here, directed towards @Neutral, it seems: “Actually, you are the only one invoking Deity here. And that must be how you account for a novice who has never played or practiced the challenge, and therefor bereft of skills, may triumph over a seasoned professional who has diligently amassed skills through rigor and discipline.
It’s either luck, or divine intervention.”

And, @Neutral, I don’t see that @RealEyesRealizeRealLies has misquoted you twice.

Can we get back to a reasonable position somewhere?

I tend to butt in where I am not wanted. If you don’t like it? Well, you will have to get used to it

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes @lillycoyote. Thanks for that. I was simply trying to keep up with @Neutral‘s Edit this response the best I could. He’s quite a spinster.

Sorry I wasted my time with you @Neutral. For a second I looked upon our conversation as a respectable challenge. But I cannot converse with one who changes their comments midfield.

I’d hoped more from you. Unfortunately, you deserve nothing more than to be ignored and flagged.

Neutral's avatar

I edit my response for corrections. Why else is there an edit button? No need to take out your frustrations out on me. The question still remains on you. If the novice was able to beat the professional without having to develop his/her skills, hence him/her being called a novice, how do you call that luck? That’s skill, coming from the physical human being.

Neutral's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies,

Aww, where are your manners and sportsmanship? I would expect nothing less from a religious man like yourself. This is how you admit you’re wrong “buzz off”? How about a real refutation to what is being asked of you on the topic at hand.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Shall I swat at gnats and risk clobbering myself? Methinks not. You shall find the sweet scent of funkrot elsewhere, and leave me by your own lust for shite.

lillycoyote's avatar

O.K. I obviously missed something. Have at him @RealEyesRealizeRealLies. Once again, whenever I butt in, I find that I have missed something. The only thing I can advise at this point is to not take the bait. You’re better than this nonsense

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Thanks @lillycoyote. To “Have at” something, there must first be something of substance to have at. There is nothing to have at with @Neutral.

Neutral's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies wrote, “Shall I swat at gnats and risk clobbering myself? Methinks not. You shall find the sweet scent of funkrot elsewhere, and leave me by your own lust for shite”

Why are you trying so hard to hurt my feelings? It’s alright to be wrong sometimes. There is no need for such hostility. Pride only hurts in this case.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies wrote, “Have at” something, there must first be something of substance to have at. There is nothing to have at with @Neutral.”

You’re right. When you were unable to respond with a reasoning explanation to my reply and instead you chose buzz off” as a refutation, thus, there was no substance to have at due to you admitting you were wrong in a hostile way.

I’ll still leave the option open to you to show me luck in your example or in any other situation. This is how civil people behave, take note.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] That’s enough, guys.

chocolatechip's avatar

@Neutral

Someone who is skilled at Billiards is someone who can consistently display the necessary competence to excel at the game. A novice who beats a professional once is not more skilled than the professional, but a novice who beats the professional every time is clearly not a novice.

Neutral's avatar

If the novice used his/her physical ability to beat the professional, then how can you say that is not skill? With your rationale, if I’m not a soccer player, and I kick the ball in the goal stand, then it “must” of been luck that got me to do it, since I’m not a soccer player, right? Wrong, that’s nonsense. It was my physical ability, the kick that caused the goal, not luck. You want to say that luck directed my ball into the goal stand? You would have to show me how it’s luck and not my foot. You also assume that the professional will win more games if consistently played against the novice, but that may or may not be true.

Neutral's avatar

Even if the professional does beat the novice consistently, the fact that the novice beat the professional once already shows that the novice is not a novice and that it was done with an undeveloped skill since the novice used physical abilities and nothing else to win. It would be one skilled player against the other skilled player.

chocolatechip's avatar

@Neutral

The skill is the ability to do something consistently, and not the physical or mental capability of the person to be able to perform the action. Anyone can who has working legs can kick a ball, but it takes skill to deliver that ball exactly where you want it, everytime you want it.

Neutral's avatar

@chocolatechip,

You’re under the assumption that skill needs to be developed. I disagree. I say it doesn’t, hence, the novice triumph over the professional. If the novice was truly novice then the novice would not be able to defeat a professional because as you claim, a professional is consistent. Well, if the professional lost, how is he/she consistent? What you’re doing is creating a hybrid novice. You consider the novice to still be a novice even though the novice defeated the professional. I disagree. If a novice beat the professional then the novice is not a novice. The novice is skilled. Since a novice beat a professional it can only mean that they were both skilled players. One skilled player was defeating another skilled player. You cannot be a half of a novice. You either novice or not. A professional will not kick the ball where he/she wants it, every time they want it. If you watch professional soccer, you would see that it’s not true. Professionals were unable to score goals that were a few feet away with no goalie even around to protect the goal stand.

chocolatechip's avatar

@Neutral

If that is what skill is to you, then what do you call the quality of one person being able to perform a task with greater competency than another most of the time?

Neutral's avatar

@chocolatechip wrote, “If that is what skill is to you,”

Skill to me is what the definition says, Skill – ability

Neutral's avatar

Let’s do it like this. If a novice defeated a professional, that means the novice had the skill(ability) to do so. Even if the professional wins most of the time after the first loss, the professional would no longer be beating a novice, the professional would be beating a skilled(ability) player because the novice beat the professional once, thus, no longer making the novice a novice, but rather skilled(ability). If the professional can only win most of the time that means the novice who beats the professional is capable of beating the professional more then once, thus, making the novice skilled(ability). No reason to instigate luck.

chocolatechip's avatar

Well it’s all relative. Obviously in this situation, there are more than 2 people involved. A professional is generally regarded as such because he is able to beat most people most of the time. Conversely, a novice is regarded as such because he is unable to beat most people most of the time. Even if the novice beat the top professional a few times, if he still has the lowest win:loss ratio of all players, would you not consider him a novice compared to the other players?

And you didn’t answer my question What do you call the quality of one person being able to perform a task with greater competency than another most of the time? The professional in our situation is capable of beating the novice most of the time. What account for this?

BoBo1946's avatar

Speaking like a golfer, luck is a by product of “working your tail off” to acquire skill !

Austinlad's avatar

By its very definition (e.g., “events that are beyond control and seem subject to chance”), I don’t believe luck can be enhanced. But as @lillycoyote said so well in this thread’s first comment, “Making the most of the opportunities one is presented with is a skill that one can cultivate.” To me that means being as knowledgeable and experienced in whatever endeavor one wishes to excel in, whether gambling or brain surgery.

Neutral's avatar

@chocolatechip,

Alright, let’s say I do consider the novice, to be a novice, even though the novice is capable of beating the professional. Where does luck come in?

As for what you asked, isn’t that what skill means? In the way you phrased it, it would be greater skill (greater ability). The professional is winning most of the time due to his/her greater skills (greater ability).

Where does the luck come in?

GeorgeGee's avatar

I think that most people would agree that finding a quarter is a matter of luck. Yet some people find many, others find none. You can enhance your chances of finding them by spending more time looking down, especially when you’re around places where they might drop, like around parking meters and bus stops. I think there are many similar examples where one can enhance their luck by being ready to take advantage of fortuitous events, and trying to spend more time in places where fortuitous events are more likely to happen.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I don’t believe in luck. I believe in opportunity, the odds of things and making advantageous choices. If there is luck, I don’t think I’ve run into it.

lazydaisy's avatar

I do believe in luck, but not quite so much as opportunity.

As for luck with regard to billiards…or poker…I can buy into ‘beginners luck’, kind of. I wonder if the novice has a better than average chance of winning because the professional can’t get a good read on them. Newbies can act in unpredictable, hard to read ways.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Interesting… What you say makes sense, having trouble reading a novice. I know for a fact that when I’m out hustling, I’ll try to look like a lucky chump with bad form and posture but happens to make some fantastically lucky shots somehow. That gets the blood boiling in those who actually know the game a bit and want to put me in my place.

I look for that in others that I don’t know, watching them shoot a few games to figure out if they’re just lucky, or on the hustle.

Neutral's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, @chocolatechip,

Luck as a fallacy

Another view holds that “luck is probability taken personally.” A rationalist approach to luck includes the application of the rules of probability, and an avoidance of unscientific beliefs. The rationalist feels the belief in luck is a result of poor reasoning or wishful thinking. To a rationalist, a believer in luck who asserts that something has influenced his or her luck commits the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy: that because two events are connected sequentially, they are connected causally as well. In general:

A happens (luck-attracting event or action) and then B happens;
Therefore, A influenced B.

In the rationalist perspective, probability is only affected by confirmed causal connections.

The gambler’s fallacy and inverse gambler’s fallacy both explain some reasoning problems in common beliefs in luck. They involve denying the unpredictability of random events: “I haven’t rolled a seven all week, so I’ll definitely roll one tonight”.

Luck is merely an expression noting an extended period of noted outcomes, completely consistent with random walk probability theory. Wishing one “good luck” will not cause such an extended period, but it expresses positive feelings toward the one—not necessarily wholly undesirable.

It cannot be shown that luck actually exists, hence luck is nothing more than a word used by one in a self delusional assumption of understanding events of which one is informed or which one witnesses. As such, it is a word which superstitious people use to simultaneously presume to have insight into events and, paradoxically, to cease efforts to understand the causes and effects of those same events. Source

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You may have the last word @Neutral.

Neutral's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies,

It’s not about last words, it’s about truth.

lazydaisy's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies regardless of all the logic, I do find hundreds of ways I consider myself lucky

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

No doubt @lazydaisy. I feel pretty lucky just knowing you. And though we both have a good dose of those Mad Skills, I don’t think skill had anything to do with our meeting one another.

lazydaisy's avatar

yup, @RealEyesRealizeRealLies just common, everyday random luck.

catinthehat's avatar

Surely luck isn’t a skill !
(& I believe luck is a bit offended you even suggested so!)

Skill is procedure, luck is probability.
What skill can’t do – luck does easily.

Can it be cultivated?
Only if you believe probability can be manipulated (& have gobs of balls or faith)

Can luck be increased?
Of course, but can WE CAUSE it to be increased? Great question!

- I hope you’re lucky enough to find the skills needed to cultivate luck
(aka “tilt the luck plane in your direction”)

RELATED: can you luck your way into being skilled?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“What skill can’t do – luck does easily.”

Brilliant.

“Of course, but can WE CAUSE it to be increased?”

I’m beginning to believe so… Stack the deck so to speak.

“can you luck your way into being skilled?”

As much as I hate to admit it, I’d have to say yes. One quick life review and that’s all the evidence I need to agree with that statement.

catinthehat's avatar

I want so bad to ask about your ideas on how to cultivate luck and/or stack the luck deck….but I realize too that the more people who know those methods, the harder it is to get the luck we need.

So I won’t…. * wink *

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