Society often behaves as if only older people have worthwhile ideas or talents, simply by virtue of having been around longer. But can you tell the difference between someone who has had, say, 20 years’ experience, versus someone who has had only one year’s experience… twenty times?!

old-and-young-computerOnce again, young people have an advantage: you tend to spend far more time with new technology… usually. 🙂

So, from someone with several decades of cumulative experience (and not just 40+ repetitions of a single year), here are some real life illustrations as to why precision really does count.


Can you read this?

Nope. Neither can I.

And as a former clinician, I had practice reading and writing thousands of prescriptions!

The difference between 10mg vs 100mg of morphine means the patient lives or dies… that’s just one little zero! What kind of doctor or nurse would you like to have treating you and your loved ones?

japanese-sync-walkingSome cultures inherently live by precision, such as in Japan, or Germany…

…or in the military (usually…).

march drill fail.gifOkay, nobody’s faultless. But that’s the point: practice makes perfect! It’s the only realistic way to achieve consistent precision.

And there are times in which precision matters more, because during practice you can afford a mistake… but not when it’s for real.


untitledAir traffic control is another good example. So is anything to do with electricity and power tools!

Going to back to the importance of clear communications (discussed separately – click here), it is also vital to be alert and aware of how someone else is trying to express details to you (even if you did everything properly!):

1.30am vs 1.30pm… the difference is obvious.

oopss13.30h vs 3.30pm… Read everything carefully! (The style here depends on what country the writer is from.) Or else you may be two hours late… enough time to miss the plane, or the interview… or blow the most important date ever, with that good looking girl/guy with whom you tried so hard, and who finally said “Yes!” (You know the one.)

math-teacher-precision_backgroundSimilarly, can you tell the difference between 1,350kg and 1.350kg? (Answer: they may be the same, depending on whether the writer is from continental Europe, or elsewhere.)

Texting is notorious for both sloppy communication style (the cause…) and lack of precision (…its effect).

phone-addictI recently texted a message to my wife that read “no bus” when I had meant to type “on bus”, resulting in her thinking that I wouldn’t be home for many hours. Our schedule was thrown off completely, and it was my fault! 😦

Oh, for the sake of one misplaced “o”…

ad-math-errorLast real life example for now, and yet another illustration of why math skills are so important (check here). A student of mine recently calculated that a job would pay $66 per hour… until he realised that he’d forgotten one decimal place, giving him a whopping $6.60 per hour! And all because he rushed his calculations!

Of course, not everything needs to be performed equally accurately. You must determine the required degree. Once again, you need to enhance your natural good judgment (click here for a reminder), and let it develop fully.

3d-turkeyImagine eating a meal that was prepared with the usual ingredients… *!* …with the finest ingredients. Which would you prefer?

As my old boss used to say, “‘Close’ only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.”

Here endeth the lesson for today.

Prof Ling 🙂