I don't at all claim this to be original; take a look at Rory Miller's blog and book. That's what got me thinking. First... Permission is a really powerful idea -- and really simple. Many of us seem to need to be given permission to do lots of things; meet a stranger, use force to protect ourselves, be better than our teachers... The list is kind of endless. Lots of things have conspired to create this perception, like societal conditioning (good people don't hit, nice people wait to be invited, etc.) and outright prohibitions (GOs that say you cannot use a particular tactic, or laws against assault & battery). Not all cases of this are negative... but how many times do we bog ourselves down in our training or in what we do because we are waiting for someone to say it's OK? Rory describes an training exercise, where students are told the goal is simply to escape if an attack occurs. One person in the group is the designated attacker, and the set up is a receiving line. As they pass by, the designated attacker attacks... And, typically, he says, when the attack materializes you get all sorts of responses. People running for corners, people fighting back... What he hardly ever sees (and I've tried it myself, and agree!) is someone simply making a beeline for the door... Because nobody explicitly said that it was OK to run out the door! Or running for a phone to call 911... A more insidious case of permission... We all hear stories about how great our teachers are. And how much better their teachers were. It would seem that each generation is getting worse and worse... rather than better and better as they stand on the shoulders of yesterday's giants. Why is that? How often is the reason simply that we haven't given ourselves permission to be as good -- or even better! -- than our teachers? Take a few minutes... Assess yourself. Where are you holding back because you've lacked permission to act? Give yourself the permission today to become better than you were yesterday. Give yourself permission to live... and to do what it takes to do so!