You know that phrase “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission”? I think that’s complete bullshit. It’s way easier to ask for permission. Forget about the reasoning behind it for a minute. I think the payoff is bigger in the end. And that reason alone I say it’s easier to ask permission and not for forgiveness.
Has anyone ever told you they are proud of you? Has anyone ever come to you for advice and thanked you for helping them out in a tough time? If so you know it feels amazing when you learn something new about yourself. It’s even greater to know when somebody you admire thinks highly of you or trusts you with something you think they wouldn’t have in the first place.
Let’s go a little deeper
Have you ever done something wrong? I have. I was supposed to come home one night at 10 p.m. And I didn’t get home until 11:30 p.m. I did this because I trusted somebody when they said that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission. My mother was waiting for me in the room we hardly sat in. That’s how I knew she was pissed.
I just want to tell you a little bit about the conversation my mother and I had when I did get home. My mother was very upset with me. Because I defied her. I did something she didn’t want me to do and she made it very clear. My parents were always good at making it very clear. No matter what we’re talking about it was always clear that these are the boundaries. My parents were not strict. Far from it. But when I was wrong for doing something, you kind of have it coming.
My mother asked me one question. She said why didn’t you just ask to stay out later? And then my mother told me had I asked her she would have said it was okay to stay out later. She wouldn’t be happy, but at least she knew where I was. In case something were to go wrong.
For that, I can never repay her. My parents are the best.
You see right there is the payoff. The path that I was talking about the beginning of this article. My mother basically told me it was easier to ask for permission. Had I asked I would have had her permission. And it doesn’t matter what I did with the extra hour and a half of time I was rewarded with. I mean, I couldn’t say I was going drinking or anything. But I could say I was going to hit golf balls at the aqua range. Yes, you read that right.
My mom was mad because she thought I was doing something she would not approve of with that extra hour and a half. There was uncertainty. There is no clarification. I didn’t make things clear.
Another thing to make clear
I’ve had this fucking excuse used on me a hundred times. People told me “had you just asked they would have said yes”. But people want to lie and make you feel bad or make you feel guilty about shit. So they use that as an excuse. The answer was always no. But they wanted to prove a point. “I would have said yes if you asked. What kind of Asshole do you think I am”?
So if you know people are always going to try to put you down and make you feel bad you may as well take that away from them.
Do you know how good I would have felt had I asked my mom if I could stay out that extra hour and a half and come home at 11:30 instead of 10? I would have felt amazing because she told me she would have said yes. And my mom saying yes is basically my mom saying she trusted me to be out that late and make the right decisions.
I think we all would agree its good to know that our parents trust us. It’s part of communicating. And you’re going to do a lot of communicating in your life. So you better start working on this now.
Asking for permission and getting told no is a shorter conversation than being yelled at for doing something you weren’t supposed to do in the first place.
If you ask for permission the worst somebody can do is say no. There might be repercussions for some things you ask permission for. Like doing drugs in the office or having an orgy in the recreation hall of a school that you work at as the librarian.
However, the truth of the matter is all somebody can do is say no. Always be careful what you ask permission for. You never know could be hiding.
What if it saves a Life?
I have a scenario. You can make the argument that this is a very rare Scenario. I’m I’m going to make the argument that no matter what the scenario is it’s always better to ask for permission.
Let’s say you have two friends who are dating each other. You think they are the world’s perfect couple. You think very highly of both of them. You have been alone in rooms with each of your friends individually. You trust them 100%. You don’t know what your friends home life is like though. You might know a couple of facts but people have secrets. And they don’t have to tell you their secrets.
Asking for permission is not like asking your friend to tell you their secrets. Asking for permission is also a form of giving somebody a heads up. A warning. Communication.
Let’s say our two friends in this loving relationship decide to have a fight one night and one of them decides to snap. All the sudden this relationship has turned into something more. Nobody’s going to come out and just tell you they are getting abused.
Let’s say the person in the relationship getting abused gets away. And they change their phone number and moved to a different address. They’re not telling the person who abused them the new phone number and address. They might tell you. And that’s trusting you with information.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
If you do, then you know that it’s easier to ask for permission than it is for forgiveness. If you don’t, let me explain it to you. Obviously, the person who is the abuser in the relationship is going to ask you at some point if you have talked to the person they were abusing. They’re going to try to strike up a conversation and eventually asks you for their new information.
And you give it to them. And then that person heads straight over and the worst thing imaginable happens.
Don’t you think it’s better to ask for permission to give out somebody’s information then it is to ask for forgiveness from a dead person?
I know that’s a use case scenario and it’s very rare but domestic violence and abuse is never ok. I think this is something we can control. You just have to train yourself to always ask for permission. That’s the hardest part. Just ask for permission.