There is a saying that if you cannot beat them, you join them. Logical or cliché? Whatever it may be. This is the way I feel most times when I am confronted with too many numbers and calculations in this Lagos Business School journey.
My Brief Background
I am from a family of 5. 3 girls and 2 boys. All my siblings are in science-related disciplines. My parents are very particular about education, since they both are University graduates of the ’70s, they apportion so much importance to the need to get degrees and utilize learning opportunities. However, my Daddy will always say that you should know your strength and maximize it because in his words” it is in your purpose that you find pleasure not pressure”.
Taking a cue from my dad’s motivational words, I realized from time immemorial that Mathematics and I were not good friends, with that in mind I decided to avoid courses that bordered on mathematics and that was part of what motivated me to read Law. Although I passed Mathematics in WAEC, I had to learn and cram it because I did not want any subject to deface my overall result.
Fast forward to now, I am faced with PROBABILITY as a course knowing that I have nowhere to run to and I must pass the course and its overwhelming numbers and calculations. I have realized that I must confront the Elephants in the room with optimism and overcome my bias and fears about working with numbers.
This is a numerical measure that the likelihood of something can occur. Probability is a way we try to put some order in things to make sense of it in order to draw insight from it. In probability, if what is likely to happen is closer to 0. It is said to be unlikely to happen but if the odds are a 50-50 chance or if it is closer to one, it is most likely to happen.
It could be said to be inferential just relative not absolute.
Risk and uncertainty are not the same thing however, they have ignorance in common.
What is Risk in probability? This is a situation where we know the outcomes and know the probability, but we have to make a choice.
Uncertainty on the other hand is a lack of knowledge concerning an outcome of events.
There are also two levels of ignorance:
- These events have outcomes: for example in football, you either win or you lose or there is a draw. This is the first level of ignorance.
- The probability of the events is not known.
How to assign probabilities. There are several ways of assigning probability, but we will just highlight two basic ones:
- Classical method- this is a situation of the equal likelihood of the occurrence of an event. An example is in throwing dice, there is an equal likelihood of getting any of the numbers 1 to 6.
- Relative frequency method- this is the total of frequency of each of the datapoint. The probability of an event is 1 minus the probability of its complement. P(A) +P(A1) = 1
These are some of the introductory lessons we had on probability, if it were just this, I would have been very comfortable, however, I will carry you along with the major number as they were unfolded to us.
To be continued….