Permission isn’t playful

May 28, 2016 ☼ lifepermissionnigel sylvesternew yorkwritingrisk

It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” - Grace Hopper

I love people who break rules with enthusiasm. Maybe because it’s not something I really do, but I respect it a lot, and try to surround myself with people who think outside of ‘rules’, whatever that word even means.

That’s why Nigel Sylvester’s Go’ (pictured) really resonated with me, it made me laugh out loud. The semi-innocent flaunting of rules, the “haaah, yeah, whatever” to the shopkeeper who yelled at him, the confidence attached to someone who has broken rules many times, with a net positive result.

There’s this other meme, where a guy spent over a year throwing eggs at his mum. What I like about it, aside from the absurd concept, is the positive reaction of the other family members, bystanders and even the mum too. It’s a break in routine for them, it’s playful, innocent, and an antidote to boredom. That’s an interesting memory for all of them now. There’s some mythology surrounding that guy.

The surprising effect of that moment’ can often be more than a fun story, but actual meaning. It connects people.

Here’s an example from my life. A few days ago, I was sitting with some friends, drinking sangria and enjoying the sudden hot weather. We were on a ship that had been permanently docked and converted into an open air bar. Suddenly, we heard a scream, and saw a huge jet of water spurt up from below the boat, and land over a couple, soaking them both. 

Everyone else clapped and laughed, and for a second we collectively shared compassion for their misfortune. But quickly we changed our tune. Whether the rest of their date turned out okay, they’ll remember that moment for a long time, and be sharing that memory with friends for months. That is the effect of the -un-ordinary.

The unexpected, random event is fun, and truly shapes our reality. These are the things that stick in our mind, change our thinking, and shape our worldview. 

I think a simple way to introduce those moment into our lives, is by loosening our own assumptions of what is correct, cool, normal, and making sure your identity isn’t so tightly tied to ‘following the rules’.