If you listen to the Sex Pistols’ version of “Substitute,” originally by The Who, you can hear Johnny Rotten in the background saying, “You don’t need permission for anything!” allegedly referring to that fact that they didn’t get “official” permission from The Who to cover the song.
I remember a kid, I learned that if I ever asked for permission from my parents, or a teacher, the answer would usually be “no.”
Being the rebellious youngster that I was, I learned that acting first and then asking permission later was a good strategy. If I ever got into trouble, I’d always say, “gee, mom, I thought it would be OK.”
Funny thing is, I never really got into much trouble.
I’ve got a friend who is a pretty smart electrical engineer. He’s originally from Cambodia, and had a pretty horrific time as a kid escaping from the Khmer Rouge.
Nowadays, he gets paid top dollar, not because he’s a genius when it comes to designing circuit boards, but because he can make snap decisions during meetings and take responsibility while everybody else would rather work on “consensus building.”
Before we humans take any kind of action, especially if it involves uncertainty, there’s usually a flood of reasons we use to justify not doing anything “scary” or “risky.”
“I don’t want to get in trouble.”
“What would the neighbor’s say?”
“What if it doesn’t work?”
Sometimes, though, it’s best to act first, and deal with any problems that come up later.
As Dale Carnegie used to say, “The sure think boat never gets far from shore…”
Before taking action, many people ask, “what if it doesn’t work?”
Next time, try asking yourself, “What if it DOES work?”