TOK: Bad Decisions

Describe a time when you made a bad decision because you made one of the errors that Dan Gilbert discussed – discuss this with reference to Reason and use TOK terms


A while ago I twisted my ankle while walking down the stairs and the doctor advised me to rest my ankle and take a break from tennis for at least two weeks.  A week later my ankle felt fine and I noticed no pain when walking and putting pressure on it and therefore assumed that I would be able to continue with tennis training.  I went back for training that week as I wanted to practice before the match we had that weekend. This was a bad decision as I had vastly underestimated the time needed for my ankle to fully recover and worsened my injury, the consequence of this was a delay in the full recovery of my ankle.  Due to this bad decision, I wasn’t able to play the match that weekend.

As Dan Gilbert said in his Ted talk, Bernoulli once gave us an equation to use when making decisions.  He said that ‘the expected value of any of our actions is the product of two simple things: the odds that this action will allow us to gain something, and the value of that gain to us.’  He also explains that the two kinds of errors that people make when using this equation.  One of them is incorrectly estimating the odds that they are going to succeed, and the other is incorrectly estimating the value of their own success.  I think that when I made the decision to begin training again I had not only incorrectly estimated the odds of success, but I had also incorrectly estimated the value of my success.  I thought that the value of my success was far greater than having some discomfort in my ankle when playing, and I had also misjudged the time I needed to fully recover. Just as Dan Gilbert said, this idea is not very easy to apply in everyday life.

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One thought on “TOK: Bad Decisions

  1. I thought you applied what Gilbert said in his TedTalk very well to the example you gave of how you twisted your ankle. The example you gave is something common that a lot of people do; as you mentioned, once they don’t feel pain, they feel capable of playing the sport which could lead to more injury. Good job!

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