The Cortical Lottery

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. 🙂


5 thoughts on “The Cortical Lottery

  1. While I am happy that you are taking this ‘off hand’ comment positively, one need not lose sleep over it ! It is fashionable to give unsolicited advice to youngsters like you by self-proclaimed ‘successful’ guys. This way they ‘name drop’ new jargons on others !

    It is not an assessment by a scientific examination/test.

    While is good to keep striving for improvements, let us not become too self critical which leads to poor self esteem. Abe’s are brought up with lot of self esteem (in fact overdose) whereas tambrams do the opposite.

    Love Appa.

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