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Excuse Me, Mr. Picasso, but Do You Know How to Mix Those Paints?

Excuse Me, Mr. Picasso, but Do You Know How to Mix Those Paints?

Waiting to board an American flight in Chicago, a copilot who was a passenger was asked by the gate agent, looking at his boarding pass, “Are you willing and able to perform the actions required in the emergency row?” (I would have said, “No, but I am willing to fly the plane.”)

This was not joking or sarcasm. She was supposed to ask that question and she did, despite the ridiculousness of the exchange. In some ballparks, I’m “carded” when I order liquor. I know I look good for my age, but come on!

A major problem in our society is that we forsake judgment—because we don’t essentially trust ourselves—and default to “rules” because we believe someone or some group always knows what’s best. I can actually understand this dynamic, because too often when we do trust our judgment—in whom we marry, driving in heavy traffic, investing on our own, gambling on sports, changing jobs—it can result in an absolute disaster.

I’d rather see people educated so that their judgment becomes excellent rather than overwhelmed by rules so that their compliance becomes excellent. But that’s me. I break rules.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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