State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

We Should Punt

I was watching a football game a few years back with a brother of mine.  One team (I have to skip specifics for lack of written authorization to give an accounting of a copyrighted telecast) was down by more than a field goal and was moving the ball with time running low in the fourth quarter.  The drive stalled out and it was fourth and long.  The announcers began to speculate.  Will they go for it?  The team called a timeout.  The announcer continued saying that now they have to go for it because they have invested a timeout.

My brother, working on his master’s degree, had been studying decision making.  He hurried in a comment that if they made an unwise decision to call a timeout, that shouldn’t affect the decision whether to go for it or not.  To make another bad decision because you just made one is only to double your bad decision.  He suggested they analyze the scenario and do what they felt was best without considering a past mistake as a basis to force the current decision.

The team came back out and, against the advice of the announcer decided to punt.  As if some unseen hand wanted to confirm my brother’s logic, the opposing team fumbled the punt return, the kicking team recovered and ended up winning the game.

In life there are many decisions to make.  In order to make good decisions, we need to analyze what the factors are, what results we want, and what the best course is to get the results we want.  We often make mistakes, sometimes our mistakes take a lot of effort and time.  To be able to learn from the mistakes, re-analyze, and make the correct decision in the present, rather than double down on a failed idea can be the difference that helps us achieve what we really want.

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