Thou Shalt

Most corporate rules tell you what you cannot do, are prohibited from doing, and shall refrain from doing. That extends right down to small business, where the door is often plastered with “no shoes, no shirt, no service,” or “no dogs,” or “no whatever.” In the new football stadium built to lure the San Francisco 49ers to San Jose (no, even the City Fathers didn’t have the chutzpah to suggest San Jose 49ers) fans are prohibited from playing football in the parking lot, profanity, and spilling. SPILLING!

Good luck enforcing all that.

Even the Ten Commandments specify what you shouldn’t do (covet your neighbor’s wife) but not what you SHOULD do. Yet the very basis of Christianity is what you should do: be tolerant, forgive.

Perhaps we should start thinking more of what we want to encourage and less of what we feel we need to discourage. Instead of “No refunds if you don’t use the internet,” what about, “We’re happy to offer you complimentary internet service”?

In most cities, the negative, conflicting, and prohibitive street signs take you an hour to read and comprehend, yet that’s impossible because another sign says, “No standing.”

We’re telling too many people too often what they aren’t allowed to do, rather than explaining what we’d love to see them do, especially our kids.

I understand “thou shalt not kill,” but I can always use a reinforcing, “Thou shalt treat others as you would be treated.”

© Alan Weiss 2014. (I don’t mean “do not copy” this, I just mean “please give me credit if you do!)

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