Break the rules! That’s right, go grab the rulebook by which you are leading your life, tear it in half (as long as it is no thicker than a telephone directory) and cast it out of the window! Today, you have permission to become a rebel in your own life….
“Remember: Life is short, break the rules.” – James Dean.
Much of what I’m writing here today is with a sense of fun, humour and is light-hearted, yet the underlying message is one I am incredibly serious about, I’ll explain…
Have you ever heard of the term “social construct”? Put simply, it is a set of “rules” that have been set and defined consciously or not that are held by members of a society, culture, subculture, team, organisation, or social group etc. that has shared assumptions about reality (their reality). Or basically, whether or not we consciously agree, we have agreed to things…. sometimes we even follow these social constructs when we disagree with them at some level! What’s more, even when proven to be false we still sometimes follow these (mostly unwritten) rules. There are many of these so-called “rules” that we live our lives by and that can have a detrimental effect upon our life, our happiness and the satisfaction we derive from life.
It can be problematic or risky to state openly that your life or career has consisted of breaking rules, especially without context. Law-breaking or acts that are immoral or unethical are not what is being championed here. I’m writing about breaking the unwritten rules by which we lead our lives and many of which are holding us back from leading the life we want. Making important decisions in life aren’t always easy. Sometimes, you get a limited amount of time to make a decision. All you can do is read and assess the situation then try to reduce whatever risks you can on the fly. Breaking rules can be risky, but the rewards of breaking the rules well can be great and ultimately very rewarding.
“The trading rules I live by are: 1. Cut losses. 2. Ride winners. 3. Keep bets small. 4. Follow the rules without question. 5. Know when to break the rules.” – Ed Seykota.
In life it’s often the same – you can follow the guidelines that help you play it safe while you tread water in certain areas of your life or you can take a risk, potentially make a mess, but be better off for trying and enriched by the experience. If you choose to take the risk, you do your best to make it a success that pays off.
Here are some reasons I recommend you break some of the rules by which you are living your life:
1. It’s Tough To Succeed If You Don’t Break The Rules:
“If you can’t solve a problem, it’s because you’re playing by the rules.” – Paul Arden.
Life’s too short and success is too hard according to many. You need that extra edge. You cannot succeed in life without having the grit and common sense to break, bend or twist a rule or four. This is a given. It’s an inextricable tenet of nature. Remember you don’t always have to break the rules. There are two other options: Bend them or twist them.
2. It’s Fun to Break The Rules:
“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn.
As long as you know the risks and their consequences give it a shot. Start small. The sign at the register in the supermarket says “Express line 12 items or less.” You have 15 items. It is crazy naughty I know, what the heck, get in the line anyway. Make you believe that someone whispering in your ear “you can do it. Go for it.”
Breaking simple rules at first will empower you and reinforce your self-confidence, not to mention the perks that come along with being a nonconformist.
As an aside and following on from the above quote that I love, Katharine Hepburn is just one of my favourite rule-breakers, along with other artists such as John Lennon, Heath Ledger, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and when you look at sport, entertainment, art and so many other areas of life, rebels, rule breakers and visionaries are the people who became most influential.
“Art is all about doing what you shouldn’t.” – Nobuyoshi Araki.
If you look at the business world at the likes of Adriana Huffington, Anita Roddick, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and so many others considered to be majorly successful people who broke the rules in their fields to achieve more.
3. You Didn’t Make The Rule:
“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” – Helen Frankenthaler.
If you didn’t make the rules, why follow it? You “gotta” do what you “gotta” do. You’ve got your own rules and your own success quest.
There is an episode of Family Guy whereby Meg asks out Craig Hoffman who is known for not playing by the rules. In response to Meg asking him out, he says “that’s about as likely as me playing by someone else’s rules besides my own which I would never do” and then adds the following…..
Hahahaha, I love that. Have a good think about whose rules you are living by.
4. You Rise To Power:
People who break the rules are seen as more powerful.
Things as simple as putting your feet on the table, throwing down your bag and arriving late all give others the impression that you are more powerful, research finds. All those things happen to be things that drive me mad in life and so I’m not going to suggest those specific actions. Rather, being someone who is innovative, visionary and bucks trends is the kind of rule-breaking I am recommending today.
The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science (Van Kleef et al., 2011). So yes, breaking rules makes you seem powerful. Importantly though, as you persist, your confidence grows, you become a fuller expression of yourself.
5. Think Before You Break Rules. Stop Thinking Once Decided:
“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them.” – Robert A. Heinlein.
Think a lot before taking any assignment and task in hand, but once taken don’t give a second thought, just put your full effort into completing that task successfully. Do the same when thinking of doing things differently or breaking any of the unwritten rules in your life – get into the flow of expressing yourself in your own unique way by giving thought to ways in which you break the rules, but once underway just going for it without hesitation.
6. No Retreat, No Surrender!
Retreating and surrender is a kind of habit you get into if you are not careful. That is, once you start to retreat or surrender to the unwritten rules, your mind becomes compelled to do things that way always, on autopilot; So be bold, be brave and embrace your individuality. If you encounter adversity, remember that it will pass. Good or bad, happiness or sorrow it is going to pass anyway. So, if it is time for struggle, don’t worry; give your best and once the required efforts have been invested, the task will be done and the good times are going to arrive for sure.
7. Successful Rule-Breaking Requires Flexibility:
“The secret of breaking rules in a way that works is understanding what the rules are in the first place.” – Rick Wakeman.
As the quote suggests (did I really quote Rick Wakeman!??) you need to understand and now the rules by which you are living – so do a bit of an audit of your life, your behaviours, your attitudes, your actions, your routines, your values, your beliefs and so on. Know what unwritten rules you adhere to in your life. Then get flexible about how you’ll go about breaking those rules.
If you want to be successful, you will have to be an agent of change who is flexible and adaptable. You may struggle if you only ever stick to one idea. Over time, you need to change the idea, adjust the idea, and try to be competitive, learn new skills required to be successful in life. The more you will welcome new ideas, the more likely the chances to be successful. When breaking rules, having a wide number of ways to do so helps make it easier and better for you.
8. Break The Rules, Not Laws:
Break the rules which limit your capabilities, explore new opportunities, take risks, find alternatives to the unwritten rules governing the way you live your life and move ahead. This is not about encouraging people to break laws or do anything immoral or unethical, but about moving past so-called “rules” that may well be restraining you or holding you back in life.
9. Embrace Your True Self:
I have written about finding your true self here. Why You Need to Discover Your True Self – And How To Do So.
When you are being true to yourself, breaking rules imposed upon you is liberating and incredibly healthy. I have often championed the notion of individuality throughout my work, and I recommend you go and read this article I wrote quite recently on the subject. Why and How To Express Your Individuality and Uniqueness.
Within my own work, I make no bones about the fact that I am a geek, I’ve written articles about why it is great to be a geek; 7 Reasons Why Being a Geek is Awesome.
…. and I started a kind of movement about being a hypnosis geek, I even put together a hypnosis geek manifesto that you can read about and watch a video of me talking about here. The Hypnosis Geek Manifesto.
This was one of the ways I chose to celebrate my individuality within my field, and break some unwritten rules at the same time.
Be comfortable being and celebrating yourself and breaking unwritten rules becomes a great deal easier and satisfying for sure.
The Bottom Line: If you need (or want) to break the rules don’t feel guilty under any circumstances. You’re certainly not alone. Get comfortable taking the road less travelled. Break rules and set yourself free today.
Have some of themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
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Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.