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Old 02-04-2011, 08:07 PM   #121
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... and one of my sisters is SO different from the rest of us I assumed it was the milkman.
Before we were married my DW and I were staying with my parents over New Year and one evening we went on a pub crawl with my Dad. My home town was absolutely full of pubs so loads of choice. As we approached one particular pub my Dad said, "It's 12 years since I've been in this pub. I went with your Mother and they had a turn on (live music). Your Mother got drunk and ended up on the stage singing. That was the night your sister, Pat, was conceived!".
We entered the pub and walked up to the bar where the old barman looked at my Dad and said, "By 'eck Alan, it must be over 10 years since you've been in here. Remember what happened last time?"
The way you set the story up and the way you tell it makes me wonder...

... did your Dad ever figure out who Pat's father was?
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:24 PM   #122
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The way you set the story up and the way you tell it makes me wonder...

... did your Dad ever figure out who Pat's father was?
If he had done he would have billed him for half of her upkeep.
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:13 AM   #123
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We were exposed to the same things in womb because Mom was very structured in her life.
I suspect that even very slight differences in levels of hormone - which could be explained by small variations in diet or just a couple of year of aging - could turn out to be significant. (Any medical researchers in here?)

But those probably pale into insignificance in comparison with the fact that any two non-identical-twin siblings only have 50% of their DNA in common.

One of the common beliefs of many people who have succeeded (at anything) is that they are nothing special and anyone else could have done it with a similar amount of effort. Whether that's because of unrealistic modesty ("I never found it that hard to do X, and I'm nothing special"), or the opposite ("I worked darned hard for this"), I don't know.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:19 AM   #124
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One of the common beliefs of many people who have succeeded (at anything) is that they are nothing special and anyone else could have done it with a similar amount of effort. Whether that's because of unrealistic modesty ("I never found it that hard to do X, and I'm nothing special"), or the opposite ("I worked darned hard for this"), I don't know.
When I was much younger I prided myself on having put myself through college and grad school, working part time, as a single parent with a bit of financial aid and scholarships thrown into the mix. I thought that if I did it, others could too.

Now as a much older, a little wiser, person, I realize that the same circumstances and events often affect people in different ways. Who knows why? I don't. And people are not always capable of overcoming obstacles, even though you would think from observing from your ivory tower than they SHOULD be able to pull themselves up.

Do we really know why some people succeed whereas others in similar circumstances do not? No, we don't. All we can do is speculate about their lives and the choices they made. And how arrogant is that? Assuming that we know what someone else's life is all about.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:26 AM   #125
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When I was much younger I prided myself on having put myself through college and grad school, working part time, as a single parent with a bit of financial aid and scholarships thrown into the mix. I thought that if I did it, others could too.

Now as a much older, a little wiser, person, I realize that the same circumstances and events often affect people in different ways. Who knows why? I don't. And people are not always capable of overcoming obstacles, even though you would think from observing from your ivory tower than they SHOULD be able to pull themselves up.

Do we really know why some people don't succeed where others in similar circumstances do not? No, we don't. All we can do is speculate about their lives and the choices they made. And how arrogant is that? Assuming that we know what someone else's life is all about.
Careful now. You are attacking one of the board's favorite pastimes. We may lack many things, but arrogance has never been one of those things.

Ha
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:36 AM   #126
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And Gumby, your story is inspiring and humbling. Thank you for sharing it and for remembering your mother's awesome sacrifice for your future. You honor her so much by doing so.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:40 AM   #127
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Before I was born, my parents had been through some hardships that would make many of you cringe. And we suffered another "Black Swan" when I was in my late teen years. We survived and were able to rebuild our lives. Well, there were a lot of luck involved. But it still takes some work.

Imagine the following conversation.

Father to 20-yr old son: "Get off your ass. Turn off the TV and the computer. Go out to look for some work."

Son: "No way. I don't have the smart to get a nice paying desk job. Nor do I have the gene to let me toil at menial jobs".

Father: "Then go to school to learn some skills. I can help you."

Son: "You know I do not have that learning ability. I cannot concentrate when reading books or listening to instructions. My mind keeps wandering off to the stuff I have been watching and doing on the Web. It is not my fault that it happens".

Father: "I give up. Get out of my house."

Son: "Why are you so mean? It is not my fault you never pass to me any of the good genes. It may be because of the water you let Mother drink while she was carrying me, for what I know. Nope, I am staying here. If you want me out, you will have to call the cops."
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:49 AM   #128
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Careful now. You are attacking one of the board's favorite pastimes. We may lack many things, but arrogance has never been one of those things.

Ha
Ha, I'm not attacking anyone, merely raising questions that I myself have pondered. Certainly I would be the first to admit to my own arrogance.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:54 AM   #129
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When I was much younger I prided myself on having put myself through college and grad school, working part time, as a single parent with a bit of financial aid and scholarships thrown into the mix. I thought that if I did it, others could too.

Now as a much older, a little wiser, person, I realize that the same circumstances and events often affect people in different ways. Who knows why? I don't. And people are not always capable of overcoming obstacles, even though you would think from observing from your ivory tower than they SHOULD be able to pull themselves up.

Do we really know why some people don't succeed where others in similar circumstances do not? No, we don't. All we can do is speculate about their lives and the choices they made. And how arrogant is that? Assuming that we know what someone else's life is all about.
I feel the same way. I often have pondered why my life has turned out so much more successful and happy than some of my siblings, even feeling guilty about it. I've come to the conclusion that for whatever reason, I have been given the ability to cope with the stresses of life in a healthier manner. These coping skills have allowed me to make better decisions which have led to a happy, successful life. I feel very fortunate to have been given the ability to deal with stress better.
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Old 02-05-2011, 01:59 PM   #130
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Ha, I'm not attacking anyone, merely raising questions that I myself have pondered. Certainly I would be the first to admit to my own arrogance.
I don't think I said that you were attacking anyone- only a passtime. If you prefer, tell me what words you would prefer and I will change my post. My opinions are always for sale.

Ha
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Old 02-05-2011, 03:11 PM   #131
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...My opinions are always for sale.

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Old 02-05-2011, 03:13 PM   #132
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I don't think I said that you were attacking anyone- only a passtime. If you prefer, tell me what words you would prefer and I will change my post. My opinions are always for sale.

Ha
Yes, of course, I misread your comment. No need to change a thing!
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:29 PM   #133
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Environment was the same. We were exposed to the same things in womb because Mom was very structured in her life. And we had the same circle of friends which was a by-product of living in a very small town. Parents ignored or yelled at us equally. We have similar intellectual abilities. What eventually made us different was our choices, not the environment. From those choices we gained experience which gave way to more choices. The evolution probably began somewhere around the 6th grade.

Sister made choices. I made choices. They were not the same ones.
No, your environment was not the same. Not possible. Your life is not your sister's life. And your environment interacts with your genetic makeup, which also is not the same, as Big Nick mentioned. If you had led your sister's life and had her exact makeup and exact experiences you would be her. You would have made the same choices that she made. How do you think you come to make choices anyway? All of our choices are caused, they don't come out of thin air. What we are is a complicated process of cause and effect.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:58 PM   #134
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You choices are defined by your nature and your experiences.
That's just your theory, or an article of faith. It's not as though you, or anyone, could predict what choices a person makes, from his nature and his experiences.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:04 PM   #135
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That's just your theory, or an article of faith. It's not as though you, or anyone, could predict what choices a person makes, from his nature and his experiences.
I disagree. Your nature determines your conscience, your decisiveness, and risk/reward tolerance; your choices are shaped by your experiences, IMO.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:05 PM   #136
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This thread discussion reminds me of the famous marshmallow experiment from the early 1970s. Four to six year olds were given a marshmallow (or other chosen treat, like a cookie) and told that if they waited 15 minutes to eat the treat , they would get a second treat. About 1/3 could wait the entire 15 minutes, another 1/3 didn't make it the entire time and another 1/3 ate the treat right away.

What was interesting was the follow up years later. The delayed gratification kids got substantially higher SAT scores and generally were reported to be more confident and better able to concentrate than the kids who ate the treat right away. This choice made as a preschooler was a better predictor of SAT scores than IQ.


A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:12 AM   #137
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Martha's point is well-stated regarding that none of us really had the same exact environment and exposures as our siblings, simply due to the passage of time. No parent, however rigorously adherent to a pattern, could successfully duplicate the precise circumstances (and who would want to?) with one child as another.

This NPR story opened my eyes to what she referenced in her post, and helped me to realize why I differ so much from my siblings, especially my 3 years older brother.

Siblings Share Genes, But Rarely Personalities : NPR
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:02 AM   #138
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This thread discussion reminds me of the famous marshmallow experiment from the early 1970s. Four to six year olds were given a marshmallow (or other chosen treat, like a cookie) and told that if they waited 15 minutes to eat the treat , they would get a second treat. About 1/3 could wait the entire 15 minutes, another 1/3 didn't make it the entire time and another 1/3 ate the treat right away.

What was interesting was the follow up years later. The delayed gratification kids got substantially higher SAT scores and generally were reported to be more confident and better able to concentrate than the kids who ate the treat right away. This choice made as a preschooler was a better predictor of SAT scores than IQ. ...
Interesting. Maybe this indicates that our IQ tests don't measure the right things? Here, we call this 'delayed gratification', but maybe it really measures the ability to reason - these kids were able to reason that the delay provides total greater value (like LBYM does for so many of us). They didn't just delay the gratification because they are martyrs, or have more patience, they delayed it for a greater total value proposition. Maybe they would apply that reasoning ability to other areas as well?

But I don't really like marshmallows, so maybe I would have 'failed' for lack of interest. Maybe ER is correlated with marshmallow affinity? Maybe we need a poll? (ooops, I saw the cookie option - you got me, Thin Mints or Chocolate Chips, please!)

While I agree to a point with your 'natural ability' views, IMO you take it towards an extreme where one gets little credit for hard work (it was just their 'nature' to work hard). Maybe we should start another thread on this sometime?

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Old 02-07-2011, 11:50 AM   #139
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This was "lucky" only in the sense in which good luck comes to those who study past midnight most nights.)

I have found that lazy and irresponsible people almost always claim that the well-off are "lucky" or dishonest.
LUCK is the residue of good design.

And you are correct, Loop Lawyer, most do not recognize this basic fact. Probably the reason State Lotteries are such big businesses and form a central plank of most folk’s retirement strategies.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:33 PM   #140
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I've posted here about our spendy friends. To give you a feeling :

  • 1.2 million-dollar-house
  • All the lights are on all the time
  • Three huge HDTVs -- Two are next to one another for watching multiple football games at once
  • Lavish parties with prime rib and turkey -- enough food for 5 x the number of guests
He's a lawyer and she is a court reporter -- they work hard all the time.

Anyway, I just heard that they are selling their expensive house and downsizing.
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