Some of us are, some like to be thought of that way, and others prefer to stay within ‘the rules’. There is no right or wrong here, only what’s right for you. On the other hand, it’s very easy to create a set of ‘rules’ that effectively become our excuses for what we do and don’t do.
Every culture, society or group needs its own rules – and buying into these rules is part of being a member. If the rules don’t fit, you’ll find it hard to feel like you belong. As humans we have a deep need for that belonging or connection, so often on the face of it, we conform with the rules, sometimes at a high personal price.
I believe we each have our own values and moral code or rules and if we break these we do ourselves harm.
Depending on your viewpoint, rules are designed to protect us, to identify what is acceptable, to control us, to create uniformity and so on. Your underlying personality defines how much you need these rules, or order and structure, to be able to participate. I am unashamedly a rule breaker – I will challenge, test and push any boundary just because it is there. This testing pushes rules into one of the three categories below:
- Sometimes I’ll conclude the rule is right and proper, a rule to live by – like not drinking and driving.
- Other times I’ll conclude the rule has some merit and can be used as a guide which can be bent when necessary. Most of what I’ve learned about business fits here; there are many guiding principles but you also have to be brave enough to stand out when required.
- Finally, there are rules that are simply self limiting, unhelpful and should be disregarded as a priority. These rules are often the ones we’ve made up based on our experiences, what we have inherited from others around us, or things just accepted because they suit us. These rules get in your way and keep you stuck. One of mine, for example, is I can’t sing; this is not true, of course I can sing. I enjoy singing, especially in the car. Do I sing in a manner that is pleasurable for others to listen to? Probably not, therefore for the experience to be pleasurable there is a time & a place.
It’s this third group of rules you gain the most from breaking. Next time you are doing something that does not feel quite right, or not doing something that secretly you know you want to, or could do, check the ‘rules’ you have created for yourself are not in the way.
One of my favourite ‘rules’ to break is the whole New Year’s resolution thing. The new year is a great time to take stock; but it’s not an out with the old, in with the new thing. This New Year think about what you absolutely loved from 2015, what are you really proud of, what do you want more of in 2016, think also about what else would make your life even better (this is often about connection, people, relationships, and experiences not material things).
Instead of resolving to give up this, that or the next thing, reward yourself for last year’s successes – however small, by doing more of what makes you happy and gives you the life you want and if you think your circumstances or other constraints are holding you back get out there and break some rules.
Wishing you a very happy and successful 2016