Initiative Does Not Equal Asking For Forgiveness

“Ask for forgiveness, not permission” is a dangerous motivational cliché. It is meant to address anxiety and the waiting for permission before acting.  The problem is that the underlying message is that the end justifies the means and asking for forgiveness will absolve you of the crimes committed getting there.

Take this to the extreme and you have: “I wanted to be CEO and I was next in-line, so I killed him. It’s okay though, I asked his widow for forgiveness.”

The problem is waiting for permission. My grandfather had a much more acceptable saying: “If getting a ‘no’ for an answer is not a problem, then why be afraid to ask the question.”  His version of “what’s the worst that can happen?” I think this is healthier than the asking for forgiveness model. It makes you look if the action is permissible and if is forgivable. It makes you look at what you are afraid of and, from what I have read, one of the better ways to combat anxiety is to examine what you are afraid of.

It’s Not What He Says, It’s Who He Is

I have not seen or heard any of the Charlie Sheen interviews. I have only read about them and I have seen a lot of quotes.

I was struck by the thought that for a lot of the quotes, it was the person saying them that made them sound crazy. If a popular and charismatic person had said these things, they would be considered motivational or inspirational:

“That’s how I roll. And if it’s too gnarly for people, then buh-bye.”

“I have one speed, I have one gear: Go.”

“It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary. People say it’s lonely at the top, but I sure like the view.”

“I think the honesty not only shines through in my work, but also my personal life. And I get in trouble for being honest. I’m extremely old-fashioned. I’m a nobleman. I’m chivalrous.”

“I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars, and people can’t figure me out; they can’t process me. I don’t expect them to.”

“They could have fleeced the sheep a thousand times, but they chose to skin it once.”

“I don’t live in the middle anymore. That’s where you get embarrassed in front of the prom queen.”

“I’m not taking it. I had to pay for it.”

“I am grandiose. Because I live a grandiose life.”

“Shut up. Stop. Move forward.”

Even the tiger’s blood analogy would be taken differently if it had been said by someone influenced by eastern philosophies.