Monday Musings: Malcolm Gladwell, rapid cognition and CF

In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell explains the importance of thin slicing or rapid cognition in decision making. He states that these terms are not “gut instinct,” but rather an educated decision made quickly based on the conscious and unconscious minds. And, rapid cognition is usually more trustworthy when making decisions than an analyzed decision made over time.

What’s interesting is how Blink applies to battling cystic fibrosis.

One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors.

What facts do we really have to go on with CF? We have our interpretation of the facts and others’ interpretation. Apologies to Mr. Gladwell, who can call it what he wants, but we need our CF “gut instinct” to help us make decisions.

Example: On last night, a mother of a CF child asked about the order of meds her clinic was recommending. I replied with my order and logic. A man replied with the opposite order. Who am I to tell him that pulmozyme before HTS doesn’t work as well as HTS before pulmozyme? He says it works best that way for him. Who is correct?

Or, jokingly, who is more correct?

We are given some tools (meds) by doctors with some guidance, and we choose some of our own, such as supplements. Many times, it’s up to us to determine which tools to apply and how to apply them based on our research, our experience and our gut.

The mother was questioning the clinic’s decision because her experience, or gut instinct, told her their decision was incorrect and less effective.

Now guess which group of professionals “thin slices” daily. They’re highlighted in the book – doctors.

Doctors need to make fast decisions. They interpret the evidence and what it tells them, then go with it, rarely second guessing. Bang. That’s it, patient diagnosed. Move on.

Have you ever experienced the moment with your CF doctor when you’re trying to decide whether you need to be admitted or not?  The decision is borderline, hovering, waiting to be made. Some signs point one way, some the other.

What tips the scale one direction or the other?

You sit there thinking, processing, clock ticking, looking at your doctor. Who blinks first? Your gut, or your doctor’s?


2 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Malcolm Gladwell, rapid cognition and CF

  1. very interesting…
    I’ve learned that gut instincts are usually correct. I know my body better that anyone – even better than my dr. I’m sure everyone does – if only they would listen to it!

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