Ignoring Probability

Probability gets sidelined because:


  • People want certainty, not accuracy. It’s more appealing to make them feel better(with lies, if required) than to give them cold, hard data.
  • There are not many chances to measure our prediction skills, with sufficient sample sizes taking long to play out.
  • People don’t really understand what odds mean, as their beliefs and preferences of what should happen, takes precedence over probability.
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Problem Solving

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Most of us understand probability and the likelihood of certain things to happen, or not happening, but still do not fully believe in it. For us, it’s about right and wrong, black or white.


Example: Nate Silver(a numbers guy) said in 2016 that Hillary Clinton has a 72 percent chance to win. This didn’t mean he was wrong when Clinton lost, but most people believed he was.

  • The pandemic death toll predictions are probabilities but the newspapers keep them as benchmark numbers which will be held against the experts.
  • In investing, stock predictions that come true are hailed on CNBC, as if those people have some superpower.

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RELATED IDEAS

Some downsides are unavoidable

Life is a little easier if you expect a certain chunk of it to go wrong no matter how hard you try.

Smart people screw up. Good people have bad days. Nice people lose their temper.

4

IDEAS

Too much optimism prevents us from accurately predicting and understanding the pain and struggle that is inevitable in the future.

What it does is it reduces our stress and anxiety and provides a ‘playground’ where we can imagine alternative realities which we need to believe in.

  • Countries, states, parties, companies, industries, departments, investment styles, economic philosophies, religions, families, schools, majors, credentials, Twitter communities.


  • People are drawn to tribes because there’s comfort in knowing others understand your background and goals.

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