Outside-in

One of my college professor told me ”Only those who work make a mistake”.

No-one is perfect, mistakes will happen inevitably.

We are bound by our fallibilities.

It can be a case of

  • lack of skills;
  • lack of focus; or even
  • lack of rationality

The challenge with becoming better at avoiding mistakes is, of-course on one hand to learn from “past mistakes” but also to anticipate making mistakes.

My personal challenge for the year (well late in the year to share new year resolutions), is to be positively inclined towards avoiding mistake.

I am not perfect, so some mistakes will happen but I have resolved to be better at handling them and reduce them as much as possible.

I want to share some things that I am going to adapt and maybe it will help all who read this.

I am inspired here by the brilliants Dr Atul Gawande and trying to articulate what he wrote in his book:

  • All of you would have experienced a friend, classmate, colleague who once taught a certain method would do it well; This is like mastering a simple equation in maths. Given the same problem, you will be able to handle it well;
  • However you make a small change in the problem and the person gets lost; That’s real life for you, it’s complicated. No 2 days are same and so are not 2 problems, even if the situation is same;
  • And then there is a completely different set of circumstances that you have never handled before. It seems complex and chances of mistakes become high

Atul suggests the process of making checklists to handle these situations effectively.

Again these are of 2 kinds:

  • Do-Confirm-you do your job from memory but pause to reflect and ensure that you have done what you are supposed to do;
  • Read-Do-Read the check-list and do what it says

The checklist idea is great but the way I am thinking about is more organic than boring.

When you have a target, the key is to have the target at the back of your mind and not in front.

If it’s always in front of you, the pressure can get to you leading to mistake in normal behaviour.

So I do not want to force steps on myself but bring it my subconscious.

List will be there but adaption will be not in checking out every step but to ensure that the spirit of the checklist becomes part of the behaviour.

Instead of reacting to every situation, training oneself to execute the steps is perhaps more crucial.

Not everything is personal and so one should not even make everything about themselves.

For example,  we have all by know read/understood the role that emotions play when it comes to certain subjects and our outlook to them.

Whether its family, money, religion, politics or something else that a person feels passionately about.

It’s always difficult to judge how that decision would really go when passions are involved.

Your rational side has one argument and your passionate side has another.

It’s like you are on a see-saw

Training the mind to go to the check-list is hence critical.

We can either lean on our experiences and circumstances to make a decision or we can look at the outside world to create a broader base rate to take a decision.

If you can train yourself to take the broader world-view instead of the narrow reference of your personal experiences, you would win the battle.

My personal experiences will always be a part of who I am, however not adapting to the outside references will lead to mistakes for sure.

Thank you for reading

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