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Improve your decision-making process




By Michael O’Connor,

I am someone who wants to see all the information before making a decision.

This is a debilitating character flaw in a profession where every decision is based on limited information and unknowable future outcomes.

When I first started investing, I wanted all the answers before placing a trade. I wanted certainty. As a result, I missed out on countless opportunities.

Over the years, I have worked hard to overcome this. One of the first steps was accepting that investing is a game of probability, not certainty.

People say investing is like chess, but in chess, all information is known and there is a right and wrong way forward at any point. It's based on computation.

Investing is more like poker. Both are games of incomplete information. Your success over the long run will come down to your ability to make the best possible decisions based on the available information.

Flaws in our decision-making process

With this in mind, let’s focus on one of the most common flaws in our decision making process – resulting.
This refers to our tendency to use the outcome of a decision to determine whether or not we have made the right choice. But there are a number of issues with this.

Bad decisions have 'good' outcomes all the time. Imagine you're late for work and approaching a crossroads as the traffic light turns red. You decide to run the light. You get through just fine and make it to work on time.
Was that the right decision?
The outcome was favourable, but you risked potential death to shave two minutes off your commute. A questionable decision at best.

Reinforcing bad behaviour

Previously successful outcomes convince you that it is a good decision.
Sticking with the driving analogies. Imagine you decide to drive home after a few drinks. You get home just fine. So you do it again and again. The successful outcomes compound to the point where you convince yourself this is a perfectly safe thing to do. You become more and more reckless until, eventually, disaster strikes.

Just because the probability of a negative outcome (getting caught, crashing) is low doesn't mean the risk/reward payoff makes sense.

We see this in investing all the time. Traders make statistically questionable decisions that work out in their favour. The initial positive results reinforce the risk-taking behaviour until they eventually get blown up.
Bad decisions can play out in your favour for a long time, but eventually, the statistical probability will catch up with you.

The Element of luck

In poker, you can play a hand perfectly and still lose because there's this luck element to it. Most decisions in life work the same way.

Ignoring the impact of luck means we convince ourselves that we made the wrong decisions when in reality, the decision was correct; we were just unlucky, or vice versa.

Imagine you have a trick coin that is heavier on one side, so it comes up 'heads' 90% of the time. If you place a bet with someone and the coin comes up with 'tails', was that a bad bet? No, you were just 'unlucky'. Every decision is based on probability, but the probability won't always work in your favour.

A 90% chance you will win is still a 10% chance you will lose. Losing doesn't automatically make it a bad decision.

Focus on the process

When investing, we need to focus on the decision-making process, not the outcome. You want to select the options with the highest likelihood of a positive result. But even if you do this, you can still lose. Not every investment will be a winner.

But if you keep making well-thought-out decisions based on a process that is true to your criteria, these decisions will compound and work in your favour over time.

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Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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