SAT Essay - Is it a disadvantage to pay attention to details?

Prompt 1

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

People often focus on "the details," those seemingly minor features and elements that often have major effects or consequences. Whether they are making ordinary, everyday decisions, analyzing historical events, or enjoying the plot of a novel, many people consider the details to be all-important. Others, however, argue that paying attention to details distracts people from the big picture—perceiving an idea, goal, or plan in its entirety.

Assignment: Is it a disadvantage to pay attention to details? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

2013-3-12 7:16:18

Posted by DoctorZ | 阅读全文 | 回复(2) | 引用通告 | 编辑

Re:SAT Essay - Is it a disadvantage to pay attention to details?

Some related thoughts are worthy of a look -

The popular philosophy that instructs us not to sweat the small stuff is flawed, because it breeds poor customer service, under-performance, wasted opportunity, mistakes, inconsistencies, rework, and oversights.

From typos to tardiness, many people and organizations act as if details just don’t matter much. The result of this mindset is that they treat customers poorly, deliver sloppy results, and show up both unprepared and late.

Many people downplay small details, dismissing them as minutia, the small stuff that we’re encouraged to ignore. But in fact, our entire environment is simply an accumulation of tiny details. Although we measure our lives in years, we live them in days, hours, minutes and seconds.

Every action, every detail of our lives–has bottom-line repercussions; and it’s dangerous and derogatory to think of any of those details as trivial, unimportant or inconsequential.

Successful people, in many walks of life, understand the importance of detail:

  • Crime scene investigators know that it’s often the smallest, most obscure detail that results in the arrest and prosecution of criminals.
  • Athletes and coaches are all too aware that one minor misjudgment can swing momentum to their competitor and result in a loss rather than a win.
  • Doctors and nurses understand that the slightest mistake or loss of focus can result in a tragic situation that carries massive liability.
  • Business people carefully oversee the details of their products and services, knowing that one simple slip-up can cause a series of events that negatively impacts the bottom line, brand integrity, and public perception.
  • Engineers and architects know that the stability of the most gigantic structure depends on the integrity of its smallest element; a failed bolt or a misplaced pin can have huge consequences.
  • Fireman, first aid responders, and other emergency personnel are trained to focus on details even as a tragedy unfolds; as every second can make the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
  • Amusement parks know that the safety and physical well-being of their guests?and the financial viability of the company?require consistent and meticulous attention to the minute mechanical details of rides and attractions.
  • Computer programmers spend their careers tightly focused on detail, as one incorrect digit in a code of millions can create an operational nightmare for the end user.
  • Automotive detailers make their living by restoring a car to showroom condition. This requires the removal of every last piece of lint, dirt, and grime; and the major tool of their trade is a simple Q-tip.

Ultimately, the key to quality in every aspect of our lives is doing little things correctly — all the time, every time, — so that each action produces a quality result.

When every detail is lovingly attended to, and each step in the process is given complete and careful attention, the end result inevitably will be of the highest quality.

Consistent attention to the small details produces excellence, that’s why we must all sweat the small stuff!

WHAT TO DO NOW? Share your two cents worth on the importance of paying attention to detail.


2013-3-12 7:27:56

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

Re:SAT Essay - Is it a disadvantage to pay attention to details?

Details, in many situations, offer not only advantage, but they are the true elements that count. I know this runs counter to well-meaning advice that seeks to liberate us from sweating the little stuff. I learned this lesson from my own life.

My grandmothers remembered everyone’s birthday and acknowledged all sicknesses, deaths, weddings and other major life events with hand-written notes. My father, a lawyer and one-time English teacher, edited my early writing diligently, and, along with my 9th grade grammar teacher, instilled in me the importance of a comma, the difference one word choice can make. My mother wrote a special message on the paper napkin in my lunch box each birthday during every school year.

Details bring me joy – the feel of quality paper, the heft of a rocks glass, the foam on a well-made latte. These are little gifts that lift my spirit and elevate ordinary experiences. But I also recognize that my commitment to particulars has a dark side. I feel compelled to try on three pairs of the same size jeans before making my final choice. I have to read every greeting card in the store to find just the right one. Discovering I’ve committed a typo nearly kills me…

Yes, it’s hard work to focus on details, but focus I must, for details are fleeting – the circumstances of a first kiss, a lost loved one’s laugh,that shortcut we always used to take. Unless purposefully tended to, the components of even the most important of life’s events are apt to fade, and then disappear.

Ok, I’m a bit obsessed, but let’s face it, it’s the sum of all these details that add up to the whole person we are – the eyeglass frames we select, the unique flair of our signature, our choice of seat on a rollercoaster – these things provide each of us with our own unique identity. They tell the world in a million tiny ways who we are, what we value.

This is why those little things play such an important role in relationships. Taking the time to notice, acknowledge and recall details makes those around us feel appreciated and understood. We draw on the best of our humanity when we slow down enough to listen – really listen – to a story being told. I certainly notice when someone does that for me.

And so, I pledge to try my best to remember whether you like the toilet paper to roll under or over, whether you are a cat or dog person, and the date of that big birthday you have coming up. I’ll be grateful if you remember that my ears are not pierced, I like peppermint tea, and chocolate is always the right answer. So in everyday of my life, I celebrate details.

2013-3-12 7:22:57

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复


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