Tag Archives: permission

Don’t Ask For Permission You Don’t Need

It looks like the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for the US military is going to be repealed. Sorry it took so long. I’m sure there’ll be an adjustment period while everyone gets to know each other.

Anyway, this made me wonder about gay people coming out to friends and family. It has to be tough. But what makes it harder is how the situation is framed in the mind of the person coming out. Human nature and the general nonacceptance of gay life probably leads the person coming out to feel as if he’s asking for permission to be gay rather than that he’s telling everyone that he’s gay. He doesn’t need permission to be gay. I’m not gay but I don’t feel like I need to ask the permission of a gay friend to write about it.

People often hesitate to start something thinking they need permission. They usually don’t need permission. William Bake said  “… create a system or be enslaved by another man’s.” There are small businesses failing and succeeding every day and not drawing any  public attention. It could be happening more – new businesses starting up. But people hesitate, waiting for permission, harboring a vague feeling someone needs to tell them it’s ok. Why not just do it.

And asking for permission can be asking for scrutiny. If you don’t need to ask for permission, don’t. “Big idea are little ideas no one killed off too soon” says entrepreneur Seth Godin. If  you create something no one hates you’re probably creating something no one loves either. Your idea might need time without an outside look, so whatever it is isn’t killed off  while it’s still developing.

I like architecture. So I walked into the Lloyd’s building in London years ago to have a look. By the time I reached the executive suites still looking around and minding my own business I was approached by some guys from security. They wanted to know what was going on and how I’d gotten so far into the building, apparently sort of embarrassing for them. After going back and forth with them, I eventually convinced them I wasn’t a threat, only a guy looking around at a building. I said I was sorry and left while they probably repositioned their cameras.

Don’t ask for permission you don’t need. You can always apologize.