guid·ance (n.) 1. The act or process of guiding. 2. Counseling, such as that provided for students seeking advice about vocational and educational matters. 3. Any of various processes for guiding the path of a vehicle or missile, by means of built-in equipment.
I have discovered a new meaning for the word guidance. It apparently can also be defined as “using policy to shirk responsibility.” As in “the guidance says that can’t be done.” Rather than think independently, it becomes easier to follow guidance. The end result is a group of people who rely solely on the opinion of others to make decisions.
In some ways, this form of guidance is very similar to definition 3 above. The trajectory of my life is being guided by the built-in mentality that allows people to blame their lack of interest on “guidance.” If this sounds bitter, it’s because the more I look at things, the more I realize how often policy dictates decision. Gone are the days of thinkers such as Jefferson. In their place, we have groups whose information and conclusions seem valid enough that another larger group believes those ideas.
You can find this group thinking across all aspects of your life, from the workplace to heath care to current politics. Ever wonder why you can’t wear sneakers to work? Would it impact productivity? Probably not. But along the way, someone decided sneakers were unprofessional and no one has challenged it so, no sneakers. Have you wondered why you have to go to physical therapy before your doctor will consider that you really hurt something? A flow chart has determined your fate. Politics…well, that’s self-explanatory.
There’s an old saying that two heads are better than one. If it stopped at 2 heads, we might have some semblance of balance. Add a 3rd, 4th or more and things start to become imbalanced. In trying to reach consensus, the individual is lost. Policy becomes more important than people.
That is my rallying cry for today. I am a person, not policy. All the flow charts in the world can’t contain my humanity. I appreciate the concept of guidance, but I do not believe that it should ever replace the power of individual thought.