Is Better to Ask for Forgiveness Than for Permission?

This quote is from a mentor I had years ago. He was the CEO of a big company who always wanted to share with the youth his secrets to enjoy life. I remember he had a big room in the house of his foundation and he call it: “Think Tank”.

All the white walls were written with phrases, quotes, sketches and many other ideas that he and his collaborators had during a meeting. He always asked us to sit down, see the wall, get inspired and keep our work.

A lot of moments in life we have to make a choice: should I or shouldn’t I do it. If we decide to do it then 2 more questions arise: should I ask for permission to do it or should I just do it? Most of the times we get into this cycle of thoughts. At the end, it could have 2 outcomes: you either did it or you made up an excuse!

Yes, you hear me right, “We create our excuses”. That is our best weapon to stop us from achieving what we want!

Let me tell you 2 stories:

The Failed Travel

We had to travel to Jaipur, called “The Pink City”, 6 hours from Delhi in India. We had everything prepared: 2 cars, 9 people, the hotel, the map, the plan, we were very happy. One week before the travel, one of our friends came and said: we need to prepare a letter asking for permission to travel. For me, that was super boring, but she said that was part of the rules of the place. So we prepared the letter, signed and then she came only to say: “Now, he’s asking us to go and talk to another person. Plus, if we want to do the trip they will cut our allowance for those 2 days of travel.” I was really angry. Our plans for the trip were for the weekend. It would not have interrupted our classes. The mistake was that my colleague went to ask for permission from the coordinator of the program. In the end, we had to officially cancel the trip.

The Jaipur Trip

The Jaipur Trip

Arnold Schwarzenegger has an a amazing speech about how you can find success in life, you can watch it completely following this link, and one of his 6 rules is: Break the rules, not the law! However, one week later we did the trip to Jaipur, not the 8 people at the beginning, but the 4 brave ones: Irene from Guatemala, Jose from Costa Rica, David from Colombia and me.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Now, the second story.

The Business Trip

While I was living in Hamburg, Germany, I was working on solving the “Green Pop-Up Store challenge with The Do School and H&M” , I got invited in a great conference, the “Business 2 Business (B2B) in Frankfurt”. Top technology companies were going to exchange their experience during one day. I was fascinated about the possibility of traveling to another city and meet new people. But, I had no money for the weekend. Since I was a member of the Global Shapers Community, I was offered a free entrance. Still, I had nor the money, nor the permission to travel, because the conference was on Friday.

I started my lucubration process: should I go, should I not go, should I ask for permission, should I just simply find a nice plan for the weekend in a park? All these questions arose in my mind for a couple of days. And then, I remembered the quote of my mentor. Starting from that moment everything fell into place, everything was there for me to take it and enjoy it.

Three friends lend me some money. I booked a bus, found a cheap hostel and traveled to Frankfurt. I met wonderful people, made some friends and even got inside the Bloomberg Channel discussing with technological experts about the topics I love. In the end, when I came back, found the way to pay the money.

So, remember it’s up to you!