“Break the rules Michael? I couldn’t do that!” Of course you could. In fact, I’d suggest your rules are precisely what keep you from having what you want in life.
When I say “rules,” I mean:
* your ingrained ways of thinking.
* your hidden assumptions.
* your habits.
* your misplaced generalities.
Rules might also include that which you call “common sense.” One of the greatest rule breakers ever, Albert Einstein, wrote “common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.”
Are you feeling “stuck?” Are you in a rut? Can’t find a solution to an ongoing problem or challenge? If so, like many of my clients, it’s probably one of your rules keeping you that way.
Here’s a simple example. A client – who I’ll call Janice – really wanted to begin an exercise program, but she had written it off as impossible due to her busy schedule.
In our conversations, Janice would say things like “that’s just the way it is,” or “it’s out of my control.” As I questioned Janice further, it became clear one of her rules was “I have to go to a gym to workout.”
Now that may sound silly to some people, but for Janice, all she knew was “I have to go to a gym to work out, and I don’t have time to go to a gym.” Like a horse with blinders on, it’s all she could see.
“Janice, who says you have to go to a gym to exercise?”
Light-bulb-aha moment for sure. As soon as Janice let go of that little rule, she was able to consider the many other options available to her.
Further, by letting go of this particular rule, Janice began walking each morning with her younger sister. The two had drifted apart in recent years, and Janice wanted to strengthen that relationship.
Here’s another example of breaking rules, although a fictional one. In a recent “Seinfeld” episode, the character George Costanza discovers if he simply does the opposite of what he’d usually do in a given situation, he’ll get the outcome he desires in that situation.
George goes for a job interview with the New York Yankees. When he meets the team owner, George tells him what a lousy job he’s done managing the Yankees. Instead of being polite and professional, as he usually would, George is rude and obnoxious. Naturally, he gets hired.
I don’t recommend you follow George’s lead . . . not totally anyway. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to look at some of your own rules though. Look especially in the area(s) where you feel stuck or in a rut.
It might also help to talk it out with someone who’s trained to help you find solutions and move forward, such as a coach. As one of my other clients recently told me, “I appreciate your honesty and directness in pointing out things that I’ve had “blinders” on to.”
Ready to break some rules? Go ahead. You can do it. As Thomas Edison said: “hell, there are no rules here–we’re trying to accomplish something.” It may be the only difference between a life that’s so-so and a life that’s amazing.
It’s Your Life! Make it great.
Michael D. Pollock is a Personal Coach. He works with small
business owners to help them build their business without
selling themselves or “selling out” on themselves. Visit
his website. http://www.michaeldpollock.com/