“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.”
– Katharine Hepburn
I’ve always questioned so called rules and regulations. When I was a child I constantly challenged the status quo in my home, church and school. In high school I fought for my right to take auto repair and wood shop classes instead of home economics and sewing – and won. I never fill in all the blanks on any type of form, instead I decide what information I want to share. If someone tells me no, I find another person to ask. Why not? What do you mean I can’t? Who said so? How do you know for sure?
David Mamet is a Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright, film director, screenwriter and author. At the conclusion of his dramatic writing class on Masterclass.com he tells this story:
“This is a story from a book by a guy called Alfred Bester, a British science-fiction writer. He wrote a book in the mid 1950s called, The Demolished Man. It takes place in the future and there are mind readers. It’s been discovered that some people can actually read minds for real. And also they discovered this time warp so that people can travel over millions of light-years to a different galaxy. But there’s only one way to communicate with them and that’s with the mind readers. So the mind readers are very prized in that civilization. Everyone thinks they’re going to be a mind reader. The mind readers set up a school and said, “The school will take applicants all morning Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Lineup and start filling out your form. You’ll be taken through the line and it’s going to be a day long process.” The mind readers were looking down on all these people filling out these forms waiting to be tested. And they’re thinking if you can hear me I want you to leave the line, go over to your left. There’s a door there marked no admittance. And I want you to go through that door.”
Towards the end of the story David got choked up. He knows in order to succeed as a creative person, freelancer, business owner, humanitarian, inventor, dreamer, or outside the box thinker you need to be brave enough to get out of the lineup, turn towards the door that says no admittance, and walk through it.