Normalization of Deviance
March 9, 2019 10:55 AM Subscribe
Engineer Foone Turing looks at how pushing limits leads to failure.
The Challenger disaster wasn’t a single mistake or flaw or random chance that resulted in the death of 7 people and the loss of a 2 billion dollar spaceship. It was a whole series of mistakes and flaws and coincidences over a long time and at each step they figured they could get away with it because they figured the risks were minimal and they had plenty of engineering overhead. And they were right, most of the time…
And that’s an element everyone building anything should consider: Your system not breaking doesn’t mean it works and is a solid design. It might just mean you’ve gotten lucky, a lot, in a row.And on a personal level:
So think about your workload (and by “work” I don’t just mean the 9-5 money-making sort of work). You have limits. And it’s not a bad thing when you have to cut back, when you have to relax, when you have to take time to heal. Because it often seems to be the nature of how we normalize what we’re successfully doing to keep pushing ourselves and not realize how close we are to being overloaded.Original Twitter thread.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to avoid that point, and there’s especially nothing wrong with having to cut back on what you can do once you do hit that point. If you try to load 9 boxes in your car and only 7 will fit, you don’t get mad at the car for not “toughing it out.” You’re a machine with limits too. Those limits are different because you’re conscious and biological rather than computers and mechanical, but you’ve still got limits. Keep that in mind.
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