The Random Variable yoU

On a random day, in a random month of a random year, a random writer ( Note that I use  the word ‘writer’ loosely) is struck by a random thought–one out of a billion thoughts that plague the human mind every millionth of a second. 

But this one random thought raced to the finish line from the head to the hand; translated from an idea to an action and stuck.  

Stuck like the evil eclairs toffee in the molars of unsuspecting sweet-toothed souls who might just need a shovel to dig the chewy mess out.                                   Stuck in your head like a new catchy song that you’ve maybe heard one too many times.                                                           Stuck like a very strong adhesive that refuses to budge even under water (or so the TV advertisements swear).

You are now reading the consequence of that random idea.

There is the mention of a term called the ‘stochastic disturbance term’ or the random variable denoted by the letter ‘u‘ in the regression analysis. At the risk of sounding like an insufferable know-it-all to some and yawn-inducingly technical to others, this random variable is a cluster of all unobservable, unimportant variables that affect Y(a dependent variable) in addition to X (explanatory or independent variable) but their impact on Y is too small to be mentioned in the theory. 

So the poor variable remains in oblivion, not getting much attention (except from research scholars who have no lives).   Until one fine day, a random and motivated (by sleep-deprivation, I might honestly add) writer decides to bring it into spotlight.  What I gathered from the random variables is that there are a hundred things that can affect a person without them knowing it at all.

An example might make it a wee bit tolerable if not interesting. Say, there’s a theory that says (hypothetically, of course) “A person’s decency is a negative function of the number of  times a day they say the F-word”. While the hypothetical theory considers ‘swearing’ as the only explanatory variable on which ‘Decency’ depends, there are in fact, numerous other random variables on which decency depends like politeness, honesty, goodness, thoughtfulness and so on.
A person may take a conscious decision like deciding about their career or the person they want to spend the rest of their life with or a decision as trite as ordering dinner for family (having had the odious obligation of ordering for my extended family at a place recently and taking longer in deciding what to eat than the chef took in cooking it, I can vouch for the fact that it may look easy and insignificant but it ain’t). These decisions of our life are affected by so many random variables all acting at one time that we forget to acknowledge them all.

Not only things,  but people too can be random variables in your life. There are so many people and things we need for  our mental well-being and happiness.                 A person’s ‘Happiness’ may be an exponential function of : living relationships with parents, siblings, friends, spouse, neighbours, coworkers or colleagues, etc.

While Happiness for me may be a function of great food, deep slumber, soothing music and plenty of time to read, jog, eat, sleep and repeat; it may be something completely different for you. 

For many people, Happiness is directly related to three things:

  • Healthy living
  • Financial Stability
  • Personal relationships                         

But there are a multitude of random variables at play that secure happiness for you–job enrichment,  a sense of purpose or giving back to the society in any way or exploring exciting new adventures in life could be some of them.

Well, coming back to from where it started, you’d be interested to know that random variables aren’t just always positive. Mathematically and otherwise, random variables can be negative as well and sum of these variables in a regression model is zero meaning that the positives and negatives cancel out each other.

Unlike in theory, in real life this doesn’t have to be the case every time. It’s in our hands to include the positive variables and eliminate all the negative ones from our lives to achieve optimal values in the functions of happiness, success, job satisfaction, work-life balance and healthy living. After all no econometrician is writing our lives’ theory or plotting our regression lines; we are in the position of power over our mind and body.

Always remember that you are in the cockpit of your life and it’s only you who has to take-off smoothly and land safely without letting your life get hijacked by negative random variables. 

Speaking of which, I just hope for the early demise of the random variables that make me 3Rs i.e. Regular-Ravenous-Reader and at the same time turn me into an OWDS(Occasional Writer* in Denial Syndrome) patient every now and then.

*PS- Still using the word loosely 😉


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