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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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Fire warning in National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]




The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.

As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:

“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:

“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:

“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”

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Killarney Looking Good Competition returns

Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]




Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.

When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.

After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.

This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.

Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.

This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.

Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.

In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.

Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.

The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.

MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.

The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

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