Respecting Those That Have Come Before – By Elijah Shaw

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This is an old article authored by Elijah Shaw.  In the article Elijah discusses a phenomenon that he calls the “Immaculate Information Conception” or the “IIC”.

THE ARTICLE

“This guy thinks he was born fully grown.”  That’s a saying I sometimes use, which confuses the hell out of people when they hear it.  Allow me to explain:

To me it describes a person that thinks they know everything, particularly the ones that give the impression that this knowledge somehow came right out of the sky and was beamed directly into their brains.  They suffer from a rare and unexplainable phenomenon termed IIC or “Immaculate Information Conception”.

To these individuals they didn’t have to learn something that was taught to them by someone that at some point had greater skill or knowledge about a topic.  Instead, they manifested the techniques and owe a debt to no-one.  Or to put it bluntly, they’re full of it.

I’ve said it before in previous columns, our industry is populated by the “Alpha Male” mindset (even in women) and while I also believe it is a valuable trait that allows us to rise above the pack and assume the role of protector, let’s be realistic, there are very few cases of reinventing the wheel.  Instead, we as pros learn from one another, and more importantly, learned from someone prior, information or skills that allowed us to obtain the title of “professional”.  The interesting quality I observe is that particularly in the Close Protection Industry, we tend to devalue what has come before, much less pay respect to it.

Don’t get me wrong, like a traditional family the son should be expected and encouraged to grow up, move away and start his own clan.  From a biological level that is how we diversify and continue the species.   Yet in our industry, we aren’t only moving out of dad’s house, in some cases we deny we ever even had a father.   IIC Syndrome claims another victim.

I think part of the problem lies in that there is a perceived vulnerability that lies in the fact that someone had to “teach” us something.  As if the implication may be that it also might mean there is something we don’t know, and could therefore fail at.    Industry speaking, I think we could also attribute it to the fact that many of our teachers may also still be in some way shape or form still associated with the protection business and therefore might actually be competition.

It’s different to pay respect to your kung fu sensei if he lives in a monastery or passed away many years ago.  It’s another story if you open up a martial arts school across town and may have to compete for the same new students.  Acknowledging the psychology and/or the economics is one thing, but that mindset is likely to do us more harm than good in the long run.

There is a value to strengthening ties to the past and calling upon the people who have not only knowledge but also the wisdom that comes from experience.  Even if that person no longer has any interaction with what you do, it’s just plain good karma to respect those that have achieved a high level of proficiency in a craft.  It’s one of the reasons we call a person “Doctor” even if they are not operating on us.

There’s no mistaking that Immaculate Information Conception affects most of us at one time or another, but I think with self awareness, we can all do our part to stop it from becoming an epidemic.

Elijah J. Shaw, CEO
ICON – Executive Protection & Consulting
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