Playing The Odds

Legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes was known for his disdain of the forward pass. He said, “When you throw the ball, only three things can happen, and two of them are bad.” A pass can be complete (the one good thing), or it can be intercepted or incomplete (the two bad things). So, Hayes figured the safest thing to do was to run the ball far more often than throw it. His theory worked. Hayes won five national championships, and he coached the only player in college football history to win two Heisman trophies–Archie Griffin, a running back.

Decisions we make are often not based on right or wrong; they’re based on the odds. For instance, researchers determined that extended car warranties are only used about one-third of the time. Therefore, there is a 66% chance that the money you spend on the warranty will be wasted.

Consider the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control states that on a given year the flu shot decreases your risk of contracting the flu by 50%. Can you still get the flu after getting a flu shot? Sure. The strain of flu that infects you might not be the one the shot prevented. But the fact remains that your risk of getting the flu greatly decreases by getting the shot.

When you consider the odds, the smart thing to do would be to pass on the extended warranty, then drive to your local Walgreens and get a flu shot.

By playing the odds, you’ll save yourself money, time, and a lot of frustration.


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