Ever since my school days, I’ve been a rebel and a rule breaker. I conform when it is absolutely essential – but the rest of the time, I go my own sweet way.
My version of breaking rules isn’t as anarchic as it sounds. I’m merely suggesting that you question more the rules that surround you and make your own decisions about whether they are relevant for you – or not.
Rules might have been handed down to you from parents, teachers, bosses, religious leaders and society in general, but it doesn’t mean you have to abide by them.
Laws are something different, and I’m not suggesting that you go out there and get yourself thrown into jail.
Question everything you hear. Take the old saying “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Maybe giving a task to a busy person isn’t as sensible as it sounds. You may just tip that person over the edge. Don’t blindly follow sermons from others. People tell you not to rock the boat. Why not? Sometimes it’s exactly what is needed to get things moving. “Love of money is the root of all evil.” Is it, when money is needed? Rules are often thinly packaged, well-meaning advice from family, friends, and just about anybody who thinks they hold the answers to what you should do.
Rule Number 1: Get yourself a safe job.
Does anyone truly believe that a safe job still exists? Gone are the days when you left school, went to university ortechnical college and when you left, a job appeared the next day. You stayed in that job; it was yours for the rest of your natural life if you wanted it. How many youngsters study half-heartedly because mum or dad was a miner, doctor, nurse, farmer, or teacher. The horror!
Break the rule. It makes no sense. There are no jobs for life anymore. Do what makes you feel alive and follow your passion. While it is true that some jobs are safer than others, I’ve yet to come across anyone who has regretted following their passion, no matter how rocky the road at times. I have, on the other hand, met many frustrated office workers, lawyers and tax consultants.
It is important to explore all the possibilities available – nothing too dire can happen while you are researching what resources you will need and what options you have. Do you possess the right skills and the willingness to soldier on when the going gets tough? If you have, then give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen? See where your investigations take you. You still may end up in a less than perfect job, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you gave it a go.
Rule Number 2: Narrow down your options.
That gem of advice could equally be followed by “and then paint yourself into a corner”. This piece of nonsense is trotted out – especially to teenagers – when they are in the process of making decisions about their post-school life. This is the moment when they need to do just the opposite. They need to look at all the options and explore all suitable opportunities. I remember the father of a young friend suggesting that his son narrow down all options, to the ones that offered the most lucrative returns. Crackers!
Break the rule. Look at EVERYTHING and then investigate in more depth the ideas and options that stir up a positive response when you think about them – the ones that create a buzz in your stomach. And this process is not limited to careers and education; the same applies wherever choice is necessary.
Some years ago, when I decided to change my car, a lot of people decided to help me narrow down my options. Advice such as “Get one that holds a lot of people.” Why? There’s only me and maybe one other person most of the time. “Get one that is economical on petrol”/ “Get one that can carry a lot of luggage”/ “Get the cheapest car you can find.” I took absolutely no notice of anyone and bought a small, but rather expensive car, which used a fair amount of petrol, but which also made me supremely happy with my choice. If I had taken the proffered advice, I shudder to think what I might have ended up with – and it would not have suited MY needs at all.
Try to imagine your life if you took all that advice on board. What would your life look like and how would you feel about it, and yourself?
Rule Number 3: Stick with what you know.
How do you know what you know and, even more interestingly, how do you know what you don’t know? How many people go to the same place on holiday, year after year. My Dad was one such person. Having discovered a small town in North Wales, this was his one and only holiday destination. Okay, he loved the place but he might have found other, equally (or more) enchanting places – if he had tried them. He was pretty much the same with food – no foreign stuff for him.
Break the rule. Run screaming from your comfort zone. Watch a ballet performance, buy a book of exotic recipes from all over the world. Go to a foreign food restaurant that you have never tried before. Get out, see what’s out there. There’s a great big world of Arts and nature, and new and interesting people to meet. You may discover hidden passions that you had no idea were deep within. Make friends of all ages, sexual preference, and from all walks of life. These people will enrich your life more than you could ever imagine.
Rule Number 4: Enjoy yourself while you are young.
What does that mean exactly? What is the cut-off age for enjoyment? Young in years and young at heart are not the same thing. I say enjoy EVERY day of your life. A lot of older people don’t help themselves in this respect. They assume that alongside advancing years, come aches and pains and limitations, but only some are real; the rest are imagined. “I can’t wear this because I’m sixty”, or “I can’t do that because I’m too old.”
Break the rule. Make a coffee and read Jennie Joseph’s wonderful poem “Warning” http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/warning/.
Your body is yours and will remain with you for the duration of your existence. Enjoy it and use it to the full.
Guidelines and rules isolate creative thinkers, so go through life looking for rules to break (or at the very least, bend) and give your creativity a chance.
What rules are you clinging to that do you no good at all? How could you have fun breaking them in order to make life more pleasant for yourself (and perhaps, those around you) at the same time?
Send a note to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how your rule breaking is going.