10 Random Facts about Randomness


This might sound strange coming from someone who is a born planner (See this post), but over the years I have developed a taste for leaving things to chance or opening the door for randomness.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “random” is:

lacking a definite plan, purpose or pattern

I am not alone.  Most of us over plan our lives and get upset when things veer off course.  Perhaps, randomness is unavoidable and should be enjoyed as a critical part of life.

So here are 10 Random Facts about Randomness:

  1. Online dictionaries are using social media and its concepts. When you look up a word you can find the “popularity” of that word and you can share where you’ve “Seen and Heard” the word with other people through your Facebook account.  Try looking up “random”  at www.merriam-webster.com where you will find that “random” is in the bottom 40% of searches on its site.  Also, there are 7 Facebook comments about the word.                                                                                             

  2. Geek alert!  Random number generation is used for things like lottery winnings and slot machine payouts and simulating results for forecasting models in finance.  You can try it out yourself in Excel, using the RAND function. 
  3. The “random walk hypothesis“is a theory that stock prices cannot be predicted.  Think about that next time you pay a financial advisor or money manager.  See the chart below for the daily closing price for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
  4. Randomness levels the playing field in leisure games, particularly games using dice.  People of different ages can have fun together without worrying about who is smarter or more clever.  Check out our family’s favorite game of chance, Farkle:
  5. “Fooled by Randomness is a book by Nassim Taleb, a professor, author and investor, who has dedicated his life to luck and randomness.  His theory is that humans are unaware of how much randomness there is in the world and that those who make money in the markets are just lucky, not insightful.

  6.  Random music moments can trigger nostalgia and/or make new memories.  In a world where everyone has an iPad, iPhone or other portable music player, we leave very little to chance when it comes to rocking out.  However, listening to the random radio can be a great way to hear songs you had forgotten about (The Proclaimers’ “500 miles”) and that trigger a memory to forgotten times (oh early ’90s…).

 The random radio is also good for introducing you to new songs or artists.  Isn’t that why we’re all singing Gotye’s “Somebody”…

7.  Randomness creates more interesting stories.  Try recalling a great vacation.  Was it so wonderful because you did everything you planned to do?  Perhaps you remember taking an aimless stroll in an unfamiliar city or meeting another couple while getting rained out of your planned activity.  I remember all the times we got lost more than all the times we followed the directions exactly.

8.  Play:children as randomness:adults.  The definition of play sounds awfully similar to random:  as a verb “to play” is to move freely or move aimlessly about.  As children, playtime is encouraged because it enables the child to develop creativity and imagination.  As adults, randomness may be the ticket to finding inspiration and creativity and, ultimately, to more productivity.

9.  People who live random lives are also known as Bohemians, hipsters, slackers, spontaneous people or fun people.   I wonder if these random people ever get a kick out of brief moments of planning and organization like us planners get a kick out of randomness??

10.  My mother used to have a notepad that said at the top, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.”  So maybe when we experience the Joy of Randomness it’s not so random and part of a bigger plan…

So whether you like it or not, randomness is everywhere.  Put the planner down and turn off the GPS for a bit.  You might as well embrace it and let life take its natural course…

Contact Susan

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