Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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What We Think Is and What Actually Is.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | February 2, 2019

No. 1,610

Nasim Nicholas Taleb has made a career in explaining to us that some things we think we control are random and some things we think are random are really under our personal control.

When we win, too often we call it skill.  When we lose we call it bad luck.  Of course, there can also be some of each. How do you tell the difference?

Analyze it.  Break it down piece by piece, step by step to determine whether the outcome was predictable and whether you actually made it happen. Remember, there are others who are also making things happen that you don’t control.  If you had done something different, would the outcome have been different? If you do the same thing again, but someone else does something different, will the outcome be the same?

All over the radio band, they are talking about Antonio Brown going off the rails.  A large contingent of commentators seem to think that Coach Tomlin could have avoided the problem by enforcing discipline.  Maybe, but we will never know for sure.  There are two players in this game and they can both change the outcome by varying their actions.  When one of them is unpredictable, meaning he might select a response from a wider range of choices, there are a wider range of possible outcomes.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when the outcome is not controlled by your actions.  But don’t be too quick to be easy on yourself by attributing the outcome to bad luck.





CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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