A DEA agent comes to the door of an old Texas rancher and demands to search the grounds under suspicion that the rancher was growing illegal drugs. The rancher said “That’s fine sir, you can go anywhere you want, just don’t go in that field over there.” To which the DEA agent pulled out his badge and said “do you see this badge? This badge is backed by the full permission of the United States Government. It says that I can go where I want, when I want and do whatever I want because I am a duly appointed deputy of this government.” “Alright sir” the rancher replied and went about his chores. A while later a scream was heard from the field that the rancher had told the agent to stay out of and there was the agent tearing across the field with the rancher’s prized bull in hot pursuit. To this the rancher jumped on the fence and hollered out “show him your badge! Show him your badge!”
Do You Forge Ahead or Do You Consider the Alternatives?
This is another funny story that can have some practical applications in life. So often in life we pull out our proverbial badges and shove them in people’s faces because we think that we know better than they do and that we can therefore do whatever we want whenever we want and however we want. This can be a folly that we make too often in life, however. Just because we think that we know better than someone else and just forge ahead until we run into an unsuspected problem that we had been warned about by someone who really did know better but chose to ignore. Often times when other people give us caution about forging ahead with a plan that they know is going to be problematic we don’t take the time to stop and consider that the caution they are offering may be coming from a more informed source than our own. This then leads to the same types of problems that our DEA agent had in the story above.
Therefore I would urge everyone to take a minute to step back when someone says that a course of action may be a poor course of action and then suggests a better course. Instead of figuring that we know better than that person consider that they may have information that we do not have. If we still feel that our course of action is better at least take the time to ask why it is that our course is not the best course. For instance, if our DEA agent above had simply asked why the rancher wanted him to stay out of that field he would have known that a very angry bull inhabited that field and that there was likely no reason to look there.
I believe the main point that I would like to make is this: When an alternate course of action is suggested, at the very least stop to ask why that course is better than the one you would like to take. This can save us as well as those we work with time and resources that can invariably be used for better things.