It’s always tempting to skip steps. If it feels like doing so will move an event forward more quickly…why not?
Why not? In reality, you may be right. It could work out fine. But in a well-organized, well-thought system, there is a reason for each step. You may not recognize the consequence of skipping one until it is too late.
Plane crashes, construction disasters, and medical errors often begin with skipping a step. Cross-contact food contamination, chemical disasters, wildfires, and the spread of infectious disease often involve skipping steps. Why is that choice so tempting?
It’s fun to feel a bit rebellious at times. And if we don’t put on a seat belt and don’t have a wreck, it’s easier to skip that step next time.
Some of us are defiant. Following a particular protocol feels like someone telling us what to do so we choose to ignore it.
Some of us are arrogant. We believe we know better without a full understanding of the ins and outs of how and why each step exists.
Sometimes experience teaches us why skipping steps is foolhardy. An experienced mechanic understands the order of operations that will make his job easier. An accomplished chef understands the best order in which to add ingredients to achieve the desired layers of flavor or perfect rise. A seasoned electrician knows the risks if he fails to disconnect the power before starting a line repair.
Given that many families have experienced the distraction of escalating stress the past several years, now is not the time to skip steps. Stress is distracting in a way that can cause us to be blind to is effects in the moment. We think we’re functioning well until we have the perspective of hindsight. By then, the damage may be done.
I know this is sounding like I’m a stickler for the rules or someone who doesn’t want progress. That’s not true. I love progress and I’m happy to flaunt a few rules here and there. But I’m not going to make the choice to skip steps when I’m doing preflight on a plane or handling raw chicken in my kitchen.
Everything in life has a hierarchy of some sort. We have to prioritize. But before we skip steps, it’s important to be fully versed in the reason for each of those steps. If we choose to ignore this, it can have funny results or disastrous ones.
We may not know which we are choosing.