A few days ago, a close friend remarked off-hand that I seem to have lost the cortical lottery. As soon as I heard that sentence, I felt my stomach drop. Something I already knew within myself but refused to acknowledge… and I was not expecting someone else to point it out for me.
The cortical lottery refers to the inherent happiness ‘set point’ you are born with. It determines if you are inherently an optimist or a pessimist. The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt introduced this concept to us. I have not really paid too much attention to it thus far – after all, it is something that you cannot really control. It is your set point.
All the same, when I was first asked to react to being a ‘loser’, I did not take it well. I went to bed living up to my fate of the lottery indeed…
The next day, I woke up with the realisation that acceptance is the key. The cortical lottery is but a set point, a starting point. Happiness is a journey and being aware of your position when you start may just be as important as where you start from.
Besides, I have always loved fiercely rooting for the underdog. 🙂