How not to have Disdyakis Decision Making

Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2019 17:10:00 GMT

Flip a coin? 10 times Each time guess heads or tails. How many time did you guess right.

Now take a 6 sided die and do the same thing.

Now (if you have one) do this with a 20 sided die

Number of Sides Correct Guesses
6-Sided Die 3
20 sided die 0

How many decisions do you have to make right now? 2, 5, 10, 30? When you have many decisions that need to be made, How can you increase the chances that you are making the right decision? We will answer this question later.

An Aside about the Disdyakis Triacontahedron

A Disdyakis Tracontahedron is a 120 sided die. I do not own one nor have I ever been in a game where one was needed. Image if you have to make decisions with an almost circular die? There would be a few issues.

1 - They roll for a while so you will have to be careful where you throw them. 2 - It would be almost impossible to guess a single number

We often treat our lives like a 120-sided die. There are so many different things that we can be doing. Usually in our panic, we just go "YOLO" and roll the dice on doing something hoping that we picked the right one.

So how can we increase our odds of picking the right number?

Reduce the Number of Options

The coin was easier to guess than the 6-sided dice and the latter was easier to guess than the 20-sided die. When you can try not to use dice with more sides (no matter how cool they look).

When my wife and I have to choose where to eat we take a large list of options and start whittling away at the options.

Dinner Choices

  1. Panera Bread
  2. Chipotle
  3. In-and-Out
  4. Chic-fil-a
  5. Soup-Plantation
  6. Wendys

Me: I really want a salad. (Eliminates 1, 2, and 3)

My Wife: Really I was thinking of a sandwich (Eliminates 5.)

Me: That leaves Wendy's and Chic-fil-a.

With a couple of key factors we were able to narrow down our options.

Change the Question

What if instead of guessing the right number you had to guess a range. Maybe you have to guess even or odd or a number larger than 3.

Often restructuring how you make decisions is an easy way to take a lot of options and make the choices easier.

A great example of this is with the game guess who. By adding a conditional to your question you can quickly come to the right person.

Some may call it cheating, but I call it winning!! (I don't play this game very often)

Put parameters around each option and make choices based on the parameters and not the number itself. multiple dice image-credit: The Dice Lab

Keep Rolling

If your goal is to simply guess the right number, then the more times you guess, the better chances you have to guess correctly, NO MATTER THE SIZE OF THE DIE.

When you select the wrong option don't give up, keep guessing. Just remember to take what you learned and make a more educated guess.

image credit: The Dice Lab

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