Why is it that with exceedingly educated experts, deeper knowledge, understanding of the world, striving innovations, and continuously improving technologies we are still FAILING? Why do we keep making the same MISTAKES? Well, Gawande summarizes this in his book called THE CHECKLIST MANIFESTO. The problem isn't that we are getting hit by karma, but we are beign sabotaged by the intricacy of knowledge--the theory furthuer than what we can understand--that has surpassed our capacity to interpret, predict the unexpected, and transmit it to the people. Therefore, in his book, Gawande debates how the easiest and most logical way to battle this is through a simple CHECKLIST.
One of the main reason we FAIL is because we overlook some steps, which lead us to make the dumbest mistakes. The problem comes when we are trying to save time and we either merge steps or ignore others--steps that don't seem that important or we look at them as simple--in order to advance faster. In this precise moment is when we are setting ourselves up for failure. This inconvenient is mainly observed when we use long overwhelming checklists that have multiple tasks and the clock is ticking; therefore, Gawande suggests how the best CHECKLISTS apply the rule of thumb: keeping it to between five to nine items (which is the limit of working memory). Shortcutting is not a SMART move, so you want to keep your checklist brief by focusing them on ''the killer items''--steps that are dangerous to skip (because they are crucial) and even so are sometimes omitted (Gawande).
Most of the times FAILURES are a "result not so much from IGNORANCE (not knowing enough about what works) as from INEPTITUDE (not properly applying what we know works)", Gawande mentions. Thus, CHECKLISTS help us apply the ample knowledge we have CORRECTLY. We are sometimes so pressured by the unexpected moment or emergency that we apply the wrong method, medicine, strategy, or ingredient at the wrong situation even though we completely dominate or have expertise in the field.
Finally, the CHECKLIST method is not all PERFECT, it has it's flaws. Gawande, even though he mentioned many reasons it has helped different people succeed, comes to admit the imperfections of the CHECKLIST. One of the problems I have--I bet many do--is that I get fixated with checklists, I create many of them (for anything) and I follow them word by word. Instead of using them as an aid or guide I see them as a bible. This is something I came to realized last semester working as an event planner. CHECKLISTS can be very limited because every situation is D I F F E R E N T and UNEXPECTED things can arise. The dilemma is that CHECKLISTS are made for a certain situation or specific moment, they aren't F L E X I B L E. You have to be able to known when you can use them and when you need to abandon them because they are useless. CHECKLISTS can ONLY be used for the situation they have been written for, otherwise you have to use knowledge and past experience to come up with a solution or procedure.
Gawande will not only teach you how to improve your communication at work, to avoid making dumb mistakes, or how to apply the knowledge you have correctly at all times, but he will also captivate your attention with his personal experiences as a doctor in the ER. He shares real anecdotes of how CHECKLISTS have changed many hospitals and even pilot's landings. This book has taught me many things that will help me with event planning, and in general for organizing. Don't miss this MUST READ by Gawande.
And just like that, quicker than a snap, 2015 hit me. Even until today, my brain can't process how fast time has passed; it seems like it was yesterday when we started SENIOR year. Today, it's just a countdown game until graduation day. In exactly 6 months--well really 4 if we discount the 2 months of vacation--I will be out from high school and off to college. It's terrifying yet thrilling. There are so many things I want to do before summer is over; in these last months I will leave my last FOOTPRINTS, and I want them to be REMARKABLE.
Because I love checklists a common thing I do every new year (in January) is to make my NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS list, which include my GOALS and DREAMS that I aspire to accomplish. This year my LIST is a bit different from the usual because I'm ending the most important journey of my life, but I'm also starting the most inspiring adventure; therefore, I want this list to be memorable because whatever I do in the first half of this year will be the closure of this first journey. I don't know exactly every point that will be in the 2015 checklist because I'm not familiar with the new path awaiting me; however, I do know that in these two months I have F R E E, I want to CHECK OFF the list these things I've been craving to do, these things that inspire, and these things that will bring meaning to my life. So here goes the first half of my checklist.
It's typical of me, and of many people really, to say that in this new year I will change my exercising habits. Yes, I'm the typical person who says they will start going to the gym and after a few weeks quits the job. I've always set this bar high, but I've never been able to reach it,and there is a simple reason: I'm not MOTIVATED. I haven't found that routine or that activity that makes me want to stop what I'm doing or jump out of bed to exercise. So, I've decided that this upcoming week I will try three different things: YOGA, RUNNING, and WORKING OUT ROUTINES with my sister. Once, I find that activity that inspires me, I will make a commitment to follow up with it for rest of the summer. However, having a healthy living style doesn't only include exercising, but also drinking water. Believe it or not I don't like water, and when I am thirsty I go for juice. Nonetheless, if I'm pushing myself to meet that high bar I also have to start drinking water. It will be hard, but worth it.
On April this year I will be taking my last internship for the IA and I want it to be inspiring. Fortunately, during my last internship at Young & Rubicam I was able to accomplish this; I was not only inspired by beautiful work and the company's culture, but I learned amazing things about marketing and I was submerged in a one kind experience. I was able to intern at a dream place and purse something I loved, marketing. This year I want have another fascinating internship; therefore, this summer I want to take some time to explore other passions and areas I'm interested in and hungry to learn about, and then start contacting some places to find that DREAM internship. If I'm going to be an intern for a month I want this experience to be meaningful, I want something that allows me to explore areas outside my comfort zone, that extends my knowledge on topics I's curious about, and most importantly, I want an internship that pushes me to learn and challenge myself.
During school time I don't get to spend time with my FAMILY; this is because I'm too busy catching up with homework. Therefore, I want to take some time of my summer--now that I don't have piles of workload waiting for me in my desk waiting--to learn from them, help them, and spend some time together.
During the feedback session I was told that I stress out to much, and this year I want to challenge myself to forget about STRESS. Therefore, I've started to plan more short term, instead of long term only. I've bought an agenda, which displays all days of the year and I've begun to write down short term tasks to complete long term goals. So far it's going great and I'm planning to make it a habit; therefore, let's see how it goes.
Finally I want to take on a challenge, a project, or learn something new. I am not quite sure what it is right now-- maybe learn language, take art classes, make my photography book, or simply learn a little more about business--but I want to accomplish something that at the end I will be proud of. Last summer I took photography lessons and for my final photography project I took pictures showing what summer in Peru means and it was a WORTHWHILE experience. Hence, I want to do something very similar this year, only that better.
I know this doesn't encapsulate everything and every NEW YEAR RESOLUTION I want to accomplish this year, but it does encompass most of the things I want to do in this vacation and how I want to close up this first chapter of my life.