Is life a game of chance or skill?

You may be following the political and legal battle surrounding daily fantasy sports.  I won’t recap all the issues here, but one crucial question that has been poised is this: Is betting on sports a game of chance or a game of skill?  Certainly playing the lottery is a game of chance.  Being better at starching the tickets or picking numbers, has no correlation to winning.  However, assembling a fantasy sports team does require a degree of familiarity with the players, understanding of their injuries or mindset, and, although I don’t play, I assume one can increase their odds with better choices.

This got me thinking about gambling and risk in general.  It seems to me that life itself is both a game of chance and skill.  You can be born in the right country in the right century to maximize your options.  That clearly is luck.  You can make good choices and improve your odds.  You can educate yourself, get and take advice, and learn from your mistakes.  Life certainly favors the skilled.  You can meet a friend-of-a-friend at a cocktail party (chance) and impress with your expertise and witty banter and they consider investing in your company, buying your product, or offering you a new position (skill).  Like this example, most of us experience a good mix.

There is a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson that reads “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”  I suppose that is really the take-away from our experience.  Everyone is gambling with the hand we have been dealt.  And with better plays, can win more frequently.

I am very aware of the blessings that I have received without my involvement or skill.  I am humbled to realize that my success is in a large part attributed to things outside my control.  This is why I am committed to give others the opportunity to achieve their full potential.  This is why I joined the board of Marathon Scholars.  I invite you to learn more about the organization, become a mentor, invest in a scholarship for a worthy scholar, and find other ways to get involved.