The Gamble of Success

By Mia Mazouni

After eight years of right-wing rule the Norwegian people have made a strong shift to the left with Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre to be the new prime minister. With a hundred seats to the right side’s sixty-nine in 'Stortinget' (parliament), it is safe to say that this election is a landslide victory for the left-side.

It is also safe to say that this victory comes to no surprise.

Almost every opinion poll has predicted a left-wing victory with over 50% of the popular vote and 100 and over seats assigned. Yet why the sudden shift? Is it natural that political systems swing one way after having been the other? Does that mean that most of the country suddenly believes in higher taxes for the wealthy, the end of fracking or a new drug reform?

Have people not wanted such things for the country eight years ago, will we not want those things eight years later?

Now this is not a political analysis on voter behaviour but rather a use of political analysis to determine human behaviour. There is a reason why the world is gradually shifting left, and it is not arguably due to political thinking.

See we as human beings have this perception of randomness whereby we do not expect the same chain of events in a row. Although the odds of it happening remain unchanged. This is why you do not see political parties in Norway, or any parts of Europe serve more than three terms. While of course politics plays a larger role into this, there is also the element of discomfort humans experience when trying to imagine the same sequence of events several times in a row.

Imagine yourself in a bustling crowded casino. All eyes on you as meticulously swish the dice in your enclosed fists. Perhaps you blow an air of good luck into your hands. Perhaps you say a little prayer before releasing the two cuboids that could possibly change your life for the better or worse, anything to get that lucky 7. You let the die free and to your surprise there it is-Lucky 7! You try again this time with more confidence, and would you believe it- another 7! You consider collecting your winnings and retiring from the game, yet the crowd convinces you to go another round and you think to yourself surely you can’t get a 7 again that would be preposterous. Lo and behold, lucky 7. Our bias tells us that after the first two tries there is no way we can achieve the same results again, right? Yet, the odds of rolling a 7 remains one-sixth regardless of how many times you roll it.

As someone who failed to enter the study programme of her choice and decided to try again, I faced a lot of opposition to this decision. People telling me that trying again was “pointless”, “dumb” and a “waste of time” I began to fall victim to the Gambler’s bias where I thought that going through upper secondary education again would decrease my chances of achieving my goals. Yet all it took was one person to tell me; “If you keep knocking on the door eventually someone will answer”. Perseverance does not diminish your chances of success. It had then dawned on me that I had as much of a chance of achieving my goal this second time as I did my first. So let me be that person to you, let me be the one to assure you that perseverance does not diminish your chances of success, whether it be rolling your lucky 7 or achieving a diploma.