No one is really taught how to make decisions. They just get made, and eventually we learn from experience. Sometimes we make decisions in our best self interest and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Many of us know this from experience.
As life bumps us along, decisions can sometimes happen in an instant with very significant consequences. We have all been in a situation where we got caught “off guard,” and had to make a decision in the moment, completely unprepared. Adrenaline starts ramping up emotions or insecurities and now it’s anybody’s guess what the outcome will be. In a snap, it’s all over – and potentially for many years that will follow, that decision will be the one that careens life onto the “regret superhighway” and nobody will have seen it coming.
At GTA, we simply don’t have enough time to review the infinite number of factors that can impact a tough decision, but we do have time to share useful tools that can help build decision-making confidence.
It can be easy to make everyday decisions like “Should I spend an extra $5 for lunch right now or walk home for 10 minutes and eat lunch at home for free?” We know the consequences of those decisions; we know what’s at stake. But from my own experience (in life and teaching this class) confidence in a decision lies at the heart of the strategy. Even if you have a well thought out strategy you might still get caught “off guard.” However, at the very least, you’re prepared for unexpected objections.
I am fortunate to teach the groups of youth that have found their way to the classrooms where we teach Game Theory. I’ve taught in San Francisco, Oakland and now Richmond. Each city has it’s own “flava” of students, but the thing that remains common between them is many of them stay engaged and report back to us about how they are using the tools the GTA team has taught them, and as just one of the handful of GTA instructors, I think that’s a wonderful gift they give to us.
My most recent students were unique not only because it was my biggest class EVER, but they were also committed to being present and participating – every week! Whether they know it or not, they motivated me to “bring it”, and I challenged them to be confident in their decision-making.
Teaching for me is very special. I’ve been teaching professionally since I was 17 years old. I’ve known for a long time that teaching is something that brings me joy. But there’s something about teaching game theory, opportunity cost and strategic thinking to teenagers that keeps me sharp and always thirsty to learn about all things economy. It’s an important, yet often overlooked, topic of active discussion, but our classes are a strategic play to give students a safe space to learn the tools of confident decision-making.
It’s inevitable with some decisions, there’s no turning back, no do-overs and no undo, and you can bet there’s at least one decision you’ll make in life that will teach you a lesson for good! For me, teaching the GTA curriculum to young adult students in my classes has been one of the best, confident decisions I’ve made in my life. And I am grateful for that.
Happy holidays! Richmond, CA, I’ll be back in 2015!