Monday, June 17, 2013

Break the Rules, and Enjoy

Rules, rules, rules. They're everywhere! We have no choice but to pay attention to rules on a daily basis, and obviously certain rules are there for a good reason. At work, at school, in traffic---rules exist, and that's the way it goes.

There are instances, however, where you just gotta break the rules. Think about your favorite authors, musicians, mentors, and teachers. Did they follow every itty bitty rule in the book, or were there times where they tastefully stepped beyond rules to do what they really wanted or to create something new?

Some rules are self-imposed, and it's helpful to re-evaluate these rules once in a while and decide whether they're serving you or not. Have you made certain restrictions for yourself and your life that may be holding you back? Whether we realize it or not, each of us has rules we follow regarding our health, work, activities, and other areas of life. Some of them are useful and are there for a reason. Other rules can limit your health, your potential, and your enjoyment. These ones are not necessarily helpful.

For example, it's great to keep an overall healthy and well-rounded diet to get necessary nutrients, support your body, and sustain energy. Dietary rules can be useful. If you're restricting every meal, however, by putting 100 rules in place on what you can and cannot eat---that's another story. Overdoing the rules on diet can backfire and restrict your health and your enjoyment of meals.

Let's look at another example. Say you want to learn how to write fiction and are very excited about writing your first story. You pick up a couple of self-help books on this topic, and you decide to follow every rule in them so that your writing is perfect. When you start writing your story, instead of feeling creative juices flowing, you feel the weight of each rule you're following. Now writing has become a chore.

In these examples, if you were to choose reasonable rules, they would serve as general guidelines to help you along the way toward a better diet or a good story, respectively. In excess though, the rules can stifle your health and your creativity.

Think about the self-imposed rules you adhere to on a daily basis. Are there instances where you'd benefit from loosening them up? This week, try breaking a couple of your rules that might be making you feel suppressed, stuck, dissatisfied, or bored. Enjoy!

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