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Checklists can also be so long and complicated that they become self-defeating. You can draw up a comprehensive list before heading to the supermarket, and then come home and find you forgot to get the coffee. But what checklists do accomplish is they get us to focus on things that are most likely to trip us up. Over time, preventing the most common errors will have the biggest impact on our lives. Perhaps most important, checklists are one of humanity’s oldest tools to combat our blindspots and our arrogance. The humble checklist reminds us of the importance of humility because, in the end, we’re only human.

Shankar Vedantam, Tara Boyle, Renee Klahr via The Trick To Surviving A High-Stakes, High-Pressure Job? Try A Checklist