Rules are made to be broken, aren't they?
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 follow them to the letter.
Laws are something different and I'm not suggesting that you go out that and get yourself thrown into jail.
But 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 and logical 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? Rules often come thinly veiled as well-meaning advice from family, friends and just about anybody who thinks they have the answers to everything.
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 on to university or technical college and when you left, you had a job 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 any more. Do what makes you feel alive, 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, tax consultants. It is important to explore the possibilities – nothing too dire can happen while you are doing this. Have you got 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 gets trotted out – especially to teenagers – when they are choosing 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 then some. I remember the father of a young man I know suggesting that his son narrow down his options to the ones that offered the most lucrative returns. Crackers!
Break the rule. Look at EVERYTHING and then investigate in more depth the ones that actually make you feel something when you think about them – the ones that create a flutter in your stomach. And it's not just 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 the cheapest you can, something economical to run." 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.
Try to imagine your life if you took all that advice on board. What would it look like and how would you feel?
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 enchanting, places if he had given them a go. He was pretty much the same with food – no foreign stuff for him.
Break the rule. Run screaming from your comfort zone. Go to the ballet, 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, new and interesting people. You may discover hidden passions that you had no idea were inside you. Have friends of all ages, sexual preference and from all walks of life. These people will enrich your life more than you can ever imagine.
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 and make life pleasanter for yourself at the same time?
Send a note to email@example.com and tell me how your rule-breaking is going.