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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

“No” Is Not Always the Final Answer

There are some lessons of life that run against logic, yet reward the heart bold enough to question the questionable, challenge the status quo, or anticipate the unpredicted.

Some are by personality this type of person. They may get into trouble frequently, even appearing in some cases as outcasts. Their problem is they question the wrong things, challenge in the wrong ways, or anticipate at the wrong time.

If we are to believe there is always a “Yes” answer upon an initial “No,” we need to adopt an approach that caters for the risk of questioning the right thing, challenging in the right way, and anticipating the right time.

In other words, what we must believe is that there is a way through present and future difficulties even if we cannot see it now.

A Lesson from Real Life

We see this sort of example more than we realise. During the shooting of the movie, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2010), there were dozens of challenges encountered by the production company and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City, that seemed impossible on the surface. These involved scheduling problems, safety concerns, and other access issues in shooting a large-scale motion picture project in a live transportation environment.

The personality of some of the production staff wasn’t necessarily don’t-take-no-for-an-answer, but instead find-a-way-to-do-it that achieves both organisations’ objectives.

Consequently, they didn’t find themselves so much at loggerheads with the MTA, compromising the project because of frayed relationships, since they demonstrated their desire for interdependence. Achieving the total shoot could not occur unless for complete and total cooperation of both parties.

Put plainly, they were rewarded by having a don’t-give-up and a smile-at-all-times attitude. It was not a take-no-prisoners approach; rather it was a let’s-achieve-the-impossible-together approach.

Transforming “No” into “Yes”

This was our initial idea: to find a way through the present difficulties or future challenges that seemed, on the surface, impossible for workability.

As humans we are conditioned to accept “No” answers. Indeed, society rewards the obedient; those who do not rock the boat. But sometimes, our reward is not gained because of that obedience—times like this we don’t risk when we should.

We need to learn when enterprise will get us further; when compromise undermines dignity; when playing courage to defy just might be the trick.

It is a core morality that underpins the motive to question, challenge, and anticipate appropriately.

If it is justice or wisdom or some other underlying virtue driving the non-compliance, it just might be that tables can be turned, and a sensible review of the situation at hand might be mandated.

We should do the right things, and do things for the right reasons. When it seems there is no way to do the right thing, the way of question and challenge opens up. That “No” could invariably become a “Yes.”

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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