How To Get What You Want By Breaking The Rules
"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
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
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.