High status and living by your own rules: Jack Nicholson at the U.S. Open

June 26, 2014 by Joshua
in Freedom, Leadership

A friend who grew up in Queens and became the senior ball boy at the U.S. Open told me a story about his friend who worked there too.

One day he was working at the door to the U.S. Open’s VIP room enforcing the jacket-and-tie dress code. Jack Nicholson came by and started walking into the room wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

My friend’s friend, following the rules, in a nervous high school student voice, said “I’m sorry Mr. Nicholson. There is a dress code and I’m afraid I have to ask you to follow it.”

With a polite laugh, Jack Nicholson said “I don’t think so,” and continued in.

Lessons learned

Today’s post is about more than a dress code. It’s about society’s rules, living by your rules, success, and status. I’ll still describe the lessons I learned in the language of a dress code.

When there is a dress code, the highest status person can dress the worst.

Many people spend so much time, energy, money, and other resources becoming the best-dressed person in their world. People from another world outclass them entirely, and they do it by having fun.

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