In which I agree with Peter Dinklage about luck …

If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones on TV, then do so. Peter Dinklage plays Tyrion who is probably the most affable, balanced, charming and fair character in the entire series.

Dinklage has an extended interview in the NYT, which ends:

“I feel really lucky,” he said, then added, “although I hate that word — ‘lucky.’” When I asked him why, he mulled it over for a moment, looking away. Then he focused back on me. “It cheapens a lot of hard work,” he said. “Living in Brooklyn in an apartment without any heat and paying for dinner at the bodega with dimes — I don’t think I felt myself lucky back then. Doing plays for 50 bucks and trying to be true to myself as an” — here he put on a faux snooty voice — “artist and turning down commercials where they wanted a leprechaun. Saying I was lucky negates the hard work I put in and spits on that guy who’s freezing his ass off back in Brooklyn. So I won’t say I’m lucky. I’m fortunate enough to find or attract very talented people. For some reason I found them, and they found me.”

(my emphasis)

So I hear lots about social justice nowadays – my sense of which is per-Pratchett: strain the universe with the finest sieve, you won’t find an atom of “justice” – and I especially encounter what I consider to be envy to be masquerading as a desire for fairness.

Eg: philanthropists should now receive capped tax-relief and yet must continue to pay the same amounts to charity, because they have a moral obligation.

Truth: no they don’t. A person should choose what they want to give to charity – if the state pushes harder taxation then it would be madness not to lessen your outgoings to compensate.

Sometimes it is pure circumstance that leads to someone’s good fortune – but even that is not unfair; when I was a kid I thought it was unfair that I wasn’t Spiderman, but in retrospect I’m glad I’m not. Now I know I’d hate to be Richard Branson, but only because I’ve seen from fairly close what a multinational CEO lifestyle is like.

So if somebody gets lucky and is well off from it – entrepreneurialism, banking, business, even inheritance – don’t be asking “why them”, instead as “why not me?” It could just be that they worked their socks off trying things until something clicked and they became successful – do remember that sometimes they can stop being successful equally dramatically.

If you merely inherited it all – jolly good, keep going and do continue to provide employment for other people, somewhere.

If you’re trapped in a pit of despair, hopelessness or crime then change the situation (click the link – iPlayer, radio programme, really good)

But if you’re reasonably well off and yet say things like “they have all these resources and they ought really be giving it all away because there are people less well off” – then recognise yourself for what you are.

Part of a mob.

One Reply to “In which I agree with Peter Dinklage about luck …”

  1. Razor sharp analysis sadly set to fall on deaf ears. You’ve hit the nail dead on, but I think human brains are wired to envy those with plentiful resources… survival of the fittest, 2012 style.

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