Causal Attribution

One of my least favorite quotes is "everything happens for a reason." The connotation is clearer if you append "but I didn't plan it out that way" onto it.

Events happen (or "shit happens" if you prefer that expression). It's easy to ascribe attributes and reasons to those events afterwards. The human mind works this way naturally. Ascribing reasons to events after they happen is similar but not exactly the same as hindsight bias, where events in the past appear more predictable than ones in the future. It appears that the actual term for explaining past events with reasons is causal attribution.

Why do I not like the expression? Because it's giving in to casual attribution afterwards instead of figuring out what you want ahead of time and going for it. The expression is demeaning to those who work really hard to achieve their goals. Those who use that expression are essentially saying, "I didn't do anything I wanted to do, but that's okay because these other things happened and I'll just say that's what was supposed to happen to me all along."

I say no thanks to that mentality. If I want something, I'm going to figure out how to get it and fuel my own relentless drive towards achieving that objective. When I get it I'm not going to say it was because it was just supposed to happen. I'm going to say I made it happen. I may have been helped by other people or fortunate circumstances (in almost all cases these are true), but I'm not going to discount the effort I put in to have things work out. The laissez faire attitude of "good things will happen just because" simply isn't for me.

That's why I'm going to make this trip happen. It's not just going to happen because it's what is supposed to occur.