Update the Rules

Driving along 19th today, I stopped at the light right next to my old school San Francisco State University. Each time I drive by this place, I focus my attention on the school- looking for the young shiny faced me rushing to class. I had my business full time and went to school full time and drove a 2 hour (one way) commute. I often wonder how I did it. Clearly I didn’t need to sleep.

For some reason, I turned to the left. I rarely do. In fact, I can quite honestly say I never do. Up on the elevated platform for Muni was a sign to all patrons “NO RADIOS” beneath it, they had later painted “NO TAPES”

I chucked to myself for about 10 minutes. Exactly who carries tapes around anymore? Is this an 8-track. Did they realize 10-years ago that they needed to add “NO CD’s”. When will they think of I-Pods. Their rules are so focused on the element in hand rather than the experience they wish to avoid. (Audible music or noise) Instead of presenting the idea a reasons for it, they simply try to create a trite rule to augment human behavior.

I watch corporations do this. I actually read an article in a business magazine last week that claimed boss’es had to be one part mean. That by being a nice boss, folks will not do their best. I couldn’t believe it. There is a difference between commitment and compliance. Folks work well for mean people when they are watching.. then…. who knows.

This looped me around to the who perspective discussion again. Each person on the planet has a bias. Every person. Our experience has made us look at things the way we do. We must stop discounting the bias and why we are that way. We must start helping each other SEE that we have a bias and help to address it. For the individual- not the collective.

A few years ago I took a bias test. I scored unbiased when it came to race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. What shocked me is it showed I am biased toward old people. That I see them as week. What? My dad was in a nursing home- I spent one weekend a month in Nevada hanging out with old people. I thought they were cool.

After going to see someone about it- it turns out I had a fairly serious bias. EVERY single human in my family over the age of 55 became ill and weak. I saw aging as becoming weaker. The cure? Hang out with some vibrant, non-nursing home, old people. This does not mean I do not love the connections I made with the disabled and ill in nursing homes, they have more to teach us than those of us racing around at top speed, what I needed to do was rewire my bias. Get a handle on it.

Which leads me back to No Radios. Rather than rules, we need values. Not the values that folks put up on a platform and not a 72-page office policy. It takes more time and effort- and the results are astounding.

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