As a teenager, poor judgement is something that haunts the minds of kids our age all around the world. Historically, poor decision making leads to a negative outcome, and that is something that all teenagers can relate to. Whether it’s going to a party instead of studying for an exam or being associated with the wrong people, poor judgement is a negative action. Although poor judgement skills are usually seen to be lacking during the teenage years, I can recall many instances where poor judgement affected me as a child. Growing up, I was never a motivated student. I would do anything possible to avoid doing my school work, and hated every second of the school day. Instead of studying and learning the basics of every subject, I was focused on my athletic performance and hanging out with my friends as I believed that was much more important. During the summer, I pretended as if school did not exist and did my best to not do summer work because school was simply not in session. Due to this lack of judgement, I began to fall behind in school. As I got older, the school work became harder, and my lack of practice and experience made me look dumb in the eyes of my peers. I was forced to begin working with a tutor in order to gain progress in the classroom, especially in math. I felt as if no one could help me, and my confidence was affected significantly. My lack of judgement led to a negative outcome in the classroom. As I grew older, I became more mature but would still find myself struggling to make smart decisions. As a high school student, having the ability to have a sense of judgement is vital. This will allow students to focus on their studies, while having a social presence and being a successful athlete. When I was in high school, some would compare me to a social butterfly, as well as a kid with little to no care about the responsibilities that would affect my future, I just had no idea at the time. During football season of my senior year, I was completely focused on my performance on the field instead of my performance in the classroom. In my statistics class, I took advantage of the freedom we had to watch film and prepare for the next opponent. I then continued to wait until the last minute to complete major assignments, and found myself continuously asking my friends to send me the answers to homework assignments. I became an academic burden to both my parents and my friends and needed to change as soon as possible. This lack of judgement and motivation was my Achilles heel, and for the first time ever I almost failed a class because I was simply not invested in my work.
As mentioned, there are many reasons why teenagers make poor judgements and cognitive mistakes. In my own personal experience, poor judgements have led to negative results in the classroom. During my senior year, I became a very distracted student. The days began to wind down and the workload became less and less. I was more focused on cherishing the time left that I had with my fellow classmates, instead of being a driven student who was still looking to get into college at the time. With only my parents keeping my academic motor going, I used the freedom I had to slack off in my statistics class, which was probably one of the most important classes I was taking during senior year. Based on Kahneman’s idea of “What you see is all there is” I shifted my focus on getting out of school, instead of diving deep into the subject at hand so I could become more successful. The more I studied Kahneman, I realized why I was making a crucial error in judgement. I was going out of my way to do the things that would allow me to escape my responsibilities in the classroom. Instead of preparing for exams in the days leading up to the day of the assessment, I would find myself studying the day and night before. Being an athlete with a busy schedule, I was then forced to pull all nighters just to attempt to prepare. This lack of judgement and use of poor study skills then caused me to become tired, which led to distraction and lack of performance in the classroom. I believe people make errors in judgement because they believe that a responsibility like academics can be avoided, and that everything will work out in the end.
Being a teenager myself, we are forced to make decisions that have an effect on our future, even our lives in some cases. Along with this, confidence in these situations will allow the decision process to become easier so there is no room for second guessing an opportunity at hand. However, when making these choices it is important to not be over confident and make correct judgements that will have no negative effect on the individual. Kahneman states, “The confidence we experience as we make a judgment is not a reasoned evaluation of the probability that it is right.” The writer believes that although you may feel confident in a judgement you are making, that does not mean that it is the correct judgement to be making. I agree with this statement because I can recall many times in my life fully believing in a judgement I was making, and having it completely blow up in my face. Having over confidence in these situations also can lead to others doubting your story if your judgements have been incorrect before. Kahneman states, “Confidence is a feeling, one determined mostly by the coherence of the story and by the ease with which it comes to mind, even when the evidence for the story is sparse and unreliable. The bias toward coherence favors overconfidence. An individual who expresses high confidence probably has a good story, which may or may not be true.” The writer believes that with overconfidence comes bias and a feeling of uncertainty with judgements that may not have evidence to back up, and I couldn’t agree more.
In conclusion, teenagers all over the world are notorious for making poor judgements in situations they may not realize could be vital. With teenagers, poor judgement usually leads to a negative result, setback, or a failed opportunity to succeed. Personally, I believe that every choice you make has a direct effect on your future. If you associate yourself with the wrong people, you can get in trouble, and participate in things that may be frowned upon with your peers and parents. Along with this, if you do not make the right decisions in the classroom, procrastination will set in which only leads to failure. Towards the end of his essay, Kahneman writes, “In general, however, you should not take assertive and confident people at their own evaluation unless you have independent reason to believe that they know what they are talking about. Unfortunately, this advice is difficult to follow: overconfident professionals sincerely believe they have expertise, act as experts and look like experts. You will have to struggle to remind yourself that they may be in the grip of an illusion” (Kahneman). Kahneman is portraying that trusting yourself when making decisions and doing what is best for you is most important. This is because although you may be dealing with professionals, you are the only person who controls what you can do for yourself to develop and progress.
Kahneman, Daniel. “Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Oct. 2011, www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/magazine/dont-blink-the-hazards-of-confidence.html.