Ok.. i get what he’s saying… in fact I totally, passionatly agree with what he’s saying… but Dr. Atul Gawande, this months guest columnist for The New York Times, uses his column today to spin empty cultural vernacular on its head only to invent an equally empty and ineffective cultural vernacular.
In his column Dr. Gawande decries the officials at Walter Reed, saying “The real puzzle was how one institution could be responsible for helping to save the highest percentage of battle-wounded soldiers in history and for providing such disturbingly neglectful care afterward”… Dr. Gawande’s prescription… accepting the value of “negative thinking”
We Americans believe instinctively in the power of positive thinking. Whether one is fighting a cancer, an insurgency or just an unyielding problem at work, the prevailing wisdom is that thinking positive is the key — The Secret, even — to success. But the key, it seems to me, is actually negative thinking: looking for, and sometimes expecting, failure….
…Encouraged by leaders to think negative, medical staff members … reported on transport problems for the injured, soldiers’ not wearing their Kevlar, communication glitches, unexpected infections — and instituted changes to address them. The result: they are saving soldiers who’d never have been saved before….
Contrast this with the same leaders’ approach to care afterward. The independent review group found zero effort to track how soldiers were doing in rehabilitation. No one pushed to discover failures. As a result, failures were unrecognized, yet everywhere to be seen. The review group found the same problems The Washington Post had: disorganized, bureaucratic care with glaring gaps; dismal living conditions; dangerous staff shortages.
Negative thinking!!!???? That’s not negative thinking.. it is having the courage to honestly look at what is true… Very, Very different things.
An example of negative thinking?
“I’m not good enough”…
A statement that bears no truth whatsoever and is in fact wholly defeatest. That is negative.
Honestly assessing a situation, recognizing its strengths and its weakness and using that knowledge to affect important, often life saving, change… that is POSITIVE!
Why are so afraid of anything that doesn’t feel good that we have to label it as negative? Truth is beautiful… truth is always positive, if sometimes painful. Only by having the courage to look at what is TRUE, not what we want to be true, not what other people tell us should be true…but what we know deep in our guts is TRUE can we find both the wisdom and the courage to effect profound change, in our lives and in this world.