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Thought Leaders Unpacked -> What the Dog Saw #13: Blowup

thought-leadersHow do you approach thinking about the failure of large, complicated, systems like a nuclear reactor or a space shuttle disaster?

Assigning blame is one goal. Understanding what happened and why is a similar but different approach. Fixing the specific failure so that it doesn’t happen again is another related goal.

What-the-Dog-SawGladwell, are you getting used to this yet?, turns our usual frames of reference on their respective heads.

It turns out that I’m probably a “normal accident” waiting to happen. Forget complex nuclear power plants or space shuttles for a moment.

What about the complexities of a person’s life?!

Work, family, relationships, projects, chores, play, and the unexpected all taking place simultaneously, consecutively, purposefully, randomly, wonderfully, and yes, every great once in a while, tragically.

It should not come as a surprise that, through no one’s particular act of negligence or incompetence or poor judgment, there might eventually occur a horrible accident.

In our narcissistic, litigious culture we survive and thrive on finding someone other than ourselves to blame and hold responsible for anything that harms us. But that may not always be either the case or even possible.

What alternative interpretations of “normal accidents” can we use to help us not only cope, but come out healthier on the other side of that which most horribly rocks our worlds?

What do you cope when the hard-to-explain brings harm into your life? What was your main take-away from this chapter?

Each week I post my reflections from one chapter of What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. If you are just joining the discussion now, welcome! Catch up on the entire series here.

Here's My Thought...

+ 5 = nine