Chapter Six- You Are Not A Lottery Ticket  

Some say success is a result of luck, while others say it’s a result of hard work. This is an argument that will never be resolved. However great thinkers and successful people say success comes from hard work.

You can be an optimist or a pessimist. You can have a definite goal for the future or go with the flow. Optimists welcome the future and pessimists fear it. Combining these possibilities yields four views.

  • Indefinite pessimism- as indefinite pessimist looks out into the future but has no idea what to do with it.
  • Definite pessimism – a definite pessimist believes the future can be known, but since it will be bleak, he must prepare for it.
  • Definite optimism- a definite optimist believes the future will be better than the present if he plans and works to make it better.
  • Indefinite optimism-an indefinite optimist believes the future will be better, but he doesn’t know how exactly so he won’t make plans. Instead of spending years building a new product, they rearrange already invented ones.


Thiel says definite optimism works when you build the future you envision. Definite pessimism works when you build something that can be copied without expecting anything new. Indefinite pessimism works because it’s self-fulfilling. Indefinite optimism on the other hand isn’t sustainable. The future can’t get better if no one plans for it.