How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

Last week I’ve read a book written by Mark Manson The subtle art of not giving a f*ck (HarperCollins Publishers 2016.) An interesting reading passage drew my attention: „Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from „wrong“ to „right“. Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong. And when we learn something additional, we go from slightly less wrong to slightly less wrong than that, and then to even less wrong than that, and so on. We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection.“ Also last week I was surveying two hospitals. The first just started its accreditation journey with an initial survey, and the second hospital finished its first accreditation cycle. Both were eager to know how to improve and achieve better results according to our AACI accreditation standard. My surveyor colleague always joking laconically replied: „Practice“ referring to an old joke: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” whose punch line is “Practice, practice, practice”! The urban legend says that a pedestrian on 57th Street sees a musician getting out of a cab and asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Without pause, the artist replies wearily, “Practice.” The punch line is often attributed to Jascha Heifetz or Artur Rubinstein, sometimes to an anonymous musician or taxi driver, and once even to a beatnik, who, in a 1960 telling, replied “Practice, man, practice.” At some point, the line was given a triple flourish: “Practice, practice, practice.”

As by definition accreditation helps health care organizations improve their performance for the benefit of their clients and the health system when we talk about success, or making it, or reaching some personal or professional height, we should keep Carnegie Hall in mind. We may know where success is, but we also have to know why it’s there if we want to know how to get to it.