In any endeavor, rules, standards, and procedures are essential. They exist to help us wade through often complex tasks.
Learning a new system or technique I find myself following carefully the rules that others have established. Once mastered it’s time to start questioning those rules.
This approach certainly does not work for everyone. In fact, over the years I have found most people are uncomfortable with that. I can expect a wide variety of responses from “the rules are here to be followed” to “who the hell do you think you are” to “prove it to me” to “let’s try something new”.
Once a skill has been mastered I am just as uncomfortable blindly following rules as others are uncomfortable of their questioning.
Why, for example, do we accept the rule that analog is superior to anything else? Or that the shortest path is the cleanest?
Certainly, each makes perfect common sense. But are they accurate?
How many of us are brave enough to test those assumptions?
What happens if we find that within a certain set of circumstances our cherished beliefs are wrong?
Are we willing to embrace those results?
What happens if our findings run counter to those of the crowd?
Are we willing to stand alone?
It’s easier and certainly safer to follow the rules because the fallback of right and wrong has a built-in safety net. “Who am I to question those experts before me?”
It is perhaps good to remember that an expert is an amateur with more experience at failing than a newbie.
In the presence of new evidence, most of us are unwilling to face the wrath of ridicule from those who seek comfort in the tried and true.
But for the few, progress would come to a standstill.