Thinking we can be better

Ask if health care (generally, industry-wide, nationwide) needs to be better, the majority of responses will be a resounding yes.  If you ask how, depending upon who you ask, be prepared for a myriad of opinions and a lengthy discussion.

But on a more local level, say at a hospital, we struggle with macro thinking and micro implementation. We all have industry-wide solutions, but fewer solutions when it comes to individual answers.  The attitude of inactivity toward necessary changes to make health care better for all plagues us all on the micro level.  Micro health care focuses on the individual.  That’s medicine.

But the sum becomes the total.  And we find ourselves knee deep in the macro level problems that we see currently.  Our individualized thinking needs to start incorporating collective issues if we truly want to create significant change.

Is it possible that decades of health care “problems” and the multiple issues associated with them have pushed those in health care toward a fixed mindset of “nothing will change”?

Yes, it’s possible.

Just maybe, on a micro level, we might need to shift our thinking to a growth mindset in order to see the changes we need to deliver sustainable health care.

From The New York Times on research by Standford psychologist Carol Dweck:

Those who believe they were born with all the smarts and gifts they’re ever going to have approach life with what she calls a “fixed mind-set.” Those who believe that their own abilities can expand over time, however, live with a “growth mind-set.”

Fixed mindsets tend to come from people who society anoints as talented, gifted, and possessive of innate abilities.  Growth mindsets often are more innovative.

“People who believe in the power of talent tend not to fulfill their potential because they’re so concerned with looking smart and not making mistakes. But people who believe that talent can be developed are the ones who really push, stretch, confront their own mistakes and learn from them.”

The problem is that, having been identified as geniuses, the anointed become fearful of falling from grace. “It’s hard to move forward creatively and especially to foster teamwork if each person is trying to look like the biggest star in the constellation,” Ms. Dweck says.

People with a growth mind-set tend to demonstrate the kind of perseverance and resilience required to convert life’s setbacks into future successes.

Sound familiar?

Fear not, for there is a solution.

The article asks, can one convert from a fixed mindet to a growth mindset?

Absolutely, according to Ms. Dweck. But, “it’s not easy to just let go of something that has felt like your self for many years,” she writes. Still, she says, “nothing is better than seeing people find their way to things they value.”

We can choose to improve ourselves (not be forced) when we convert our micro thinking and incorporate the individual-level health care changes needed to make the macro, collective health care impact necessary to bring about real solutions to our real problems.  Converting to a growth mindset may be the first obstacle.

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