Monkeys and typewriters

Stick loads of monkeys in a room and give them a typewriter.  Assuming they do as you say and hit away at the typewriter forever more, it’s only a matter of time before one of those monkeys will have written the works of Shakespeare.

photo by Laineys Repertoire

photo by Laineys Repertoire

Or so the theory goes.  If every attempt was a unique effort, then one day the attempts would reduce in size until you’re only left with the works of Shakespeare.  But monkeys on typewriters wouldn’t be typing with the insight that we do.  In essence, all the monkeys forever working on typing would also, feasibly, write the works of Shakespeare with many spelling mistakes and errors.  And some will get halfway through the correct text and veer off into nonsense.

Even if one monkey managed it, I don’t imagine the follow-up would win any prizes.

The monkeys and typewriters analogy doesn’t work outside of mathematics.  A lot of life is random and much of what happens is by chance.  If you’re chosen out of 10,000 contestants to win a talent contest, you don’t need to be the best performer to win.  You won’t be the worst person either.  However, a lot is down to luck, subjectivity, who’s aware of and following the contest, the amount of backing you already have, and so on.

You do need skill to achieve, but you need more than skill to achieve many goals.  There’s drive and determination to get you working each day.  There’s your attitude and a network that appreciates it.  There are many elements in play; some are in your control and some are not.

You do your best and still nothing is certain.  But it’s a start.  You’re not a monkey randomly bashing at a typewriter.  You have insight and you have a choice.

Choice plus chance equals luck.  Don’t be afraid to create your own luck!