It is an important question to ask yourself because many people just follow rules blindly, without question, even if it compromises how they really want their life and work to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a value in certain rules. Rules like it is not OK to kill someone or don’t text while you are driving. Great rules. Totally on board.
But it is the unwritten, self imposed rules we live our lives by that concern me. The rules that society, relatives and peers have decided are the “norm” that don’t fit with your own values or what is most important to you.
When I challenge the rules that people feel are holding them back from creating change in their life and work to get the results they really want, I often get the response of “well that’s what everyone does” or “that is just the way it is”.
They have settled for the status quo. But just because everyone does it doesn’t make it right for you, your work or your relationships.
It used to be “normal” to put kids up the chimney but it didn’t make it right.
All rules are made up. So the question is, are you living by rules that fit your values and what matters most to you? Are you living the life you want or living someone else’s life? Are you working on your own terms or by those dictated as the status quo by others?
It is especially important to give this some thought at midlife, and beyond, as often it is these things that are getting in the way of the life, work and results you really want at this time of life, and for the next chapter of your life.
Here is my point:
Conformity is the killer of creativity
Conforming to rules for you life and work that you didn’t create for yourself, based on your values and what matters most to you, can sabotage living and working on your own terms. It can stop you thriving and wreak havoc on having a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Blindly conforming to what does serve you, your values and what matters most to you is like getting on the train to mediocrity central.
So, I invite you to look at the rules you are living and working by. Ask questions such as:
- Is believing and operating within this rule helping me or hindering how I want things to be?
- What if this rule isn’t true?
- What new rule could I put in place that more closely matches my values and what is most important to me?
- If I wasn’t buying into those rules what would I do differently, what rules and standards would I put in place for myself?
So, here’s the challenge – start breaking all the rules (obviously not the ones that would mean breaking the law or are wise to follow!). Start creating your own rules and “norms” based on your values, what is most important to you and will support the life and results you really want to achieve at midlife, and beyond.