Making Stupid Choices

Imagine waking up one day and finding a man pointing a gun at your head. He gives you two choices. First, you can walk out the door and there’s a chance if he shoots you, he’ll miss and you’ll get away. Second, you can sit still, do nothing, and get a 100% chance he’ll shoot you in the forehead and kill you. What would you do?

Surprisingly, when given a choice between certain death or a chance at escape, most people would sit still, whine and complain at how unfair life can be, cower in fear at the uncertainty that getting up and running out the door might bring to their lives, and wind up taking the bullet to the forehead. That just shows that most people deserve a bullet to the forehead if they’re too stupid to save themselves.

While this choice might sound silly, it highlights the fact that humans make all kinds of unwise decisions that hurt themselves in the long run. Everyone knows cigarettes are bad for you. Even long-time chain smokers know this. Yet they continue smoking anyway. Why? Because it’s easier not to change and suffer the consequences later rather than change and suffer the uncomfortableness now.

So given a choice between uncertainty now or certain failure tomorrow, most people are happier choosing certain failure. This is the reason why democracies don’t work because when the majority of the people are stupid, they can make stupid decisions together. Just ask all those Germans how well their democratic elections worked out when they all thought Hitler had the solution to their problems.

The smartest people are those willing to admit they may not be so smart after all. The dumbest people are those who believe they’re smart and don’t need to do anything to change. The irrationality of the human race might be why intelligent beings from other planets are smart enough never to make contact with humans in the first place.

Look at people around you and you can find plenty of people who make poor choices from the alcoholic wetting himself while sleeping on the sidewalk to the rich lawyer who lies and cheats his way to the top, only to get mad when his wife cheats on him with someone else. People are stupid when they don’t think, but amazingly brilliant when they make an effort to think.

Which type of person do you want to be? If you have to think about your answer, chances are good you already know what choices you’ve already made.