Grip of an illusion draft 2

Minghui Sun

Professor Drown

English 122

7 November 2019

                                                        Grip of an illusion

One error in judgment that I have made is miss judge my academic ability in freshman college year which leads to a catastrophic ending. when I got into college, I thought it’s no big deal. Just another school and more classes to come. I thought if I take my time, I can get good grades in all my classes. Thus, I took a 17-credit course schedule which includes one English course and one science course. I was enjoying the amount of course I’m having each week which was about 11, 12 course peer weeks compared to 4 courses per day high school schedule. Suddenly I had so much free time with so little amount of homework to do. However, that was only the beginning. As the semester goes by, more and more assignments, projects, presentations, and essays being assigned, I start to get a real good taste of college. Due to my poor time management ability lack of study strategies, somehow, I manage to screw up most of them. I recall at the end of October I must have drop 3 of them, because theoretically if I get all A in the following assignments, my final grades won’t look pretty. Flashback to the beginning where I made this decision. I never thought such one misjudgement can have such an impact on my college career. 

After reading Kahneman’s “Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence.” I start to think that if we carefully think about all the decisions, conclusions, judgment, we made in the past five days. How many of them are an evidence-based, well-developed statement? There are so many times that you feel no need to question your judgments or decisions cause you think that its well celebrated. In fact, I suppose that most of them are false assumptions that you mind automatically telling you are correct, but you are not.How can you tell when you blind by your own blindness?

Well, before we know how we need to know what it is. Daniel Kahneman from the New York time calls it Cognitive Fallacy, thinking of mistaken belief. Coming from his own experience, he was working at the psychology branch under the Israeli Army service. His job was to determine subject potential in a short period of observation. While they were working under Israel army service ,they feel no need to question their predictions. They have the confidence that the soldiers that they chose can make an influence in the future. If they did not go as expected, they could say, “of course, anything could happen in the future.”(pg2) However, as more and more results come back negatively, he discovered the disturbing truth that their prediction “is a little better than blind guesses.”(pg3) Most importantly, he knew all along, but he continues to “act and believe that each forecast is valid”. In his word, he calls it “the illusion of validity.”(pg3) He indicates that when people are facing a hard decision, they prefer the easy way out without realizing it. We can’t make such monumental decisions like does an individual has the potential to be a leader based on a short period of over sedation. So, they chose to believe what they see is all there is. Moreover, the coherence of the story gives people more confidence and make them feel it’s right even its not the case. It does seem logical that whoever stands out in that trail can have the potential to be the star. This coherence of the story/logical sense give them confidence that they are making valid prediction. 

Later in his life, he got the privilege to work with an investment company. Through a long period of time of studying, he insists that the more trade processed in stock, the less revenue is going to bring. He discovers that this industry is all about luck than professional skills. On the other hand, stock pickers insist on believing that “they were competent professionals performing a task that was difficult but not impossible, and their superiors.” How do we identify what professional appear to have the illusion of skill? He suggests that “when making a prediction, is it evidence-based?” “Do professions have the opportunity to know the background? “It’s important to know that when professionals exercise their judgment with evidence confidence or evidence-based. It is critical to not let your “self -esteem” and “livelihood ”(pg7) to manipulate how you think when well-evidence facts are challenge your perspective. In his own words“Your mind simply doesn’t digest them”(pg7). Kahneman present an overall deep detailed analysis of elements that caused false judgment. Thus, with his idea I can diagnose what caused the unreliable judgement that I made in the beginning of my college career.

In my first couple weeks of college, I felt there were so many free times so little classes and homework then I automatically assume that it’s going to be this way the rest of my year. I have only gone through the first step and assume that college is not as hard as I thought it’s going to be, and I made up the rest of the story in my head. My experience provides a vivid example to Mr. Kahneman’s theory which is “what you say is all there is.” I had only just begun, and It was only the first month of the college, and I’m assuming it’s going to be the same as the first month. I made up a story from so little I knew and come to conclusion that the rest of it is going to be the same. I continue to have the same mindset for a long period of time, and at the end of the year, I come to the realization that my academic skills don’t qualify my course schedule. At that point, it was too late to make any changes because It was way past add and drop period. 

Another fallacy that caused this disaster is the illusion of skills. Back in high school, if you went through it you will agree to my conclusion, which is that it does not require a tremendous amount of time skills and strategies to get good grades. I was doing fine in high school, not straight 4.0 but decent. Somehow this confidence raised from nowhere. I carefully think about where it came from, but I couldn’t. In Mr. Kahneman words, he indicates that “Overconfident professional sincerely believe they have the expertise, act as experts and looks like experts. You will have to struggle to remind yourself that they may be in the grip of an illusion.” In my case, I assume that my mindset/ result made me believe that I’m an expert when it comes to school. However, the truth is, I suck at it. It’s terrifying to think how many of those judgments I made in the past decade are well reasoned based or I was just in a grip of illusion.

These cognitive fallacies do apply to everyone, and we have been a victim of these act. When you make a false judgment that you don’t realize it, it could be a small decision or small thing but have a big impact on your life, such as school success, family relation, personal interest. How do we prevent it from happening? At the end of his paper, Kahnenman introduces two critical thinking about how to avoid cognitive fallacies. When it comes to making a judgment, do we have the evidence, “cues,” and the “regularities” (pg7)to support this judgment? When it comes to making a prediction or judgment, can we find the regularities and trends from the available evidence in history? If we can discover the regularities, the next decision or prediction we made can be sufficient enough, and it won’t just be random guesses. For instance, if I take some time to look back at my student career, I will find that I have not been an elite student at point of my life. That will be my “cues” and if acknowledge it I will know that it  won’t be a wise choice to take full load course schedule in college, which is known for its toughness.

Well, false judgments or decisions we made before cant be undone.  What we do is look into the future. Be wise when it comes to making a judgment. Use what Kahneman taught us and learn from the old experience to prevent this happening in the future.  

Work cited

Daniel, Kahneman. Don’t blind! The hazards of confidence. New York Time. October 19,2019

Daniel, Kahneman.

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