What do business start-ups, drug clinical trials and weather predictions have in common? High failure rates. Sometimes (many times) things just don't work out.
Over 50% of new businesses fail within four years and 71% are gone by the end of ten years.  Drug clinical trial failure rates are even worse, especially for new cancer medicines - only about 5% of the cancer drug candidates first tested in humans ultimately receive FDA approval.  And then there is the weather. We are lucky if meteorologists can accurately predict next week's weather, let alone next month's or next year's.
What are we to make of all this?
The world is a lot more complex than we realize or would like to admit. In cancer research, scientists are finding that a myriad of genetic mutations, epigenetic influences, and environmental factors all play into who gets cancer and which one of the multitude of cancer variations they get. Developing effective therapies with widespread applicability is extremely difficult.
And governmental macro economic policy is often just a crapshoot because the models used by economists are grossly simplified caricatures of incredibly complex market mechanisms. Business founders and other market participants are sometimes rational, sometimes emotional, and often wrong. And yet they just keep on trying - as long as the incentives for success are big enough. Make enough shots on goal, they believe, and sooner or later you will score. Never mind that the clock, or the funding, may run out before your number comes up.
And then there's the weather. Edward Lorenz's  interest in chaos theory came about accidentally through his work on weather prediction in 1961.  The weather, market economies, and other complex systems are not chaotic in the common meaning that their outcomes are unknowable. Such systems are in fact deterministic, but highly sensitive to initial conditions. That is, small tweaks in the initial conditions can produce a multitude of highly divergent outcomes. It is the sheer number, nature, and variety of those initial conditions that may be unknowable.
Recent work in theoretical physics by Stephen Hawking and others suggests that our observable universe may merely be one of an infinite number of randomly created universes comprising the larger multiverse.  According to this line of thinking, our existence in this particular universe may have resulted from the specific set of initial conditions (laws of physics, etc.) that gave rise to our particular universe. There may or may not be other universes in which our existence might have arisen.
What are we to make of all of this?
Most of us are just bit players in a grand drama whether it be business, science, or politics, to wit:
- Just play hard,
- Give it your best shot, and then
- Retire from the field so someone else can have a turn.
Once in a while, someone will score a goal, and everyone else will be the better for it.