March 10, 2007.
"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."
From the day we are born until the day we die, we are deluged with a ceaseless array of rules. There are rules to do this and rules not to do that. Rules on how we should act, what we should wear and what we should say. Rules dictating how we must live and what we must do. Rules, rules and more rules; they're here, there and everywhere.
Try as we might, there seems to be no escaping the endless barrage of rules. There are rules at work and even rules at play; rules at school and rules governing how we behave. Many follow these rules religiously, faithfully toeing the line and doing whatever they're told. Then there are others who seem almost hell-bent on breaking just about every rule on earth. Truth be told, neither of these approaches are likely to take you very far.
"You are remembered for the rules you break."
Debatably, there are some good rules around, particularly those that prevent chaos and promote a semblance of order within society. But by and large, rules work to place us all in one collective box; where we are duty bound to obey the rules that are in place. This cramped box, replete with rule after rule, creates artificially imposed boundaries that severely constrict our creativity and inhibit our imagination.
If you must choose a direction in life, it is far better to opt for the rule breaking route and be considered a maverick than be one who simply follows the crowd. Truth be told, most of us feel like we're up to our eyeballs in all sorts of rules anyway. We would dearly love the chance to break free from all of the rules holding us back and break away from the rest of the crowd.
This process of taking your life to a whole new level of excitement, fulfillment and happiness - unlike anything you've previously experienced - begins with some basic rule breaking. Rather than allowing others to set the rules for your life, you need to set your own rules - your own standards of excellence.
"There are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something."
Thomas A. Edison
You can stick to the rules and stay stuck in a rut - or you start breaking away by breaking some rules, staking your claim to the best life has to offer. But a word of caution here. Rule breaking is not for the faint of heart. Breaking the rules always involves a sizable degree of risk. Always. But so what? If the prospect of breaking rules makes you nervous or a bit apprehensive, join the club. There is always some amount of anxiety whenever you're about to upset the apple cart.
On the other hand, if you never muster the nerve to pull the trigger and break a rule or two along the way, you assume an even bigger risk: the risk of missing out on the life you could have and should have lived. A lifetime of staying in your place and doing what you're told. Do you really want to be relegated to follower status, constantly missing out because you always followed each and every rule, playing it strictly by the book? Come on now, what kind of fun is that?
"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules."
George Bernard Shaw
A person who habitually breaks the rules is quickly labeled an outcast, a troublemaker up to no good. But take a look at who's doing the labeling here. Chances are good it's someone who isn't about to rock the boat, someone going absolutely nowhere and wanting to take you along for the ride.
Hey, name one person who made an indelible mark in the history books obeying all of the rules. The only way you can live a life worth living and leave a legacy worth remembering is to break some rules when they need to be broken.
Better yet, why not toss all the rules aside and assemble your own set of rules. Rules you can live your life by. Ready for a few suggestions? OK, here goes.
"Any fool can make a rule - and any fool will mind it."
Henry David Thoreau
Rule #1. Imagination Rules. Any and all rules that hinder your boundless imagination in any way should be summarily rejected. After all, your imagination is the source of your creative genius, your gateway to innovative and inventive ideas. Which leads us to Rule #2.
Rule #2. Creativity Rules. Mary Lou Cook said, "Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun." Anything that disrupts your capacity to create or hampers your ability to imagine, envision and invent is hardly a rule worth having. Getting where you want to go is about being yourself and doing your own thing. Not a bad segue into Rule #3.
Rule #3. Spontaneity Rules. There isn't a thing wrong with possessing a high degree of spontaneity, where you regularly 'go with your gut feeling' regardless of what others may say or think. Some of the best ever trusted their insight and intuition above all else. And so should you.
Why not break out of the mold and start breaking some rules yourself? Instead of living a life where everyone else's rules apply, why not break away and start living your life by your own set of rules? By doing what you do best, remaining true to yourself and steadfastly trusting your intuition, you can break the rules and have the time of your life along the way.
The Bottom Line: Start breaking the rules and you start breaking some records as well.
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