"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." – Maya Angelou

5 Reasons Why Breaking the Rules is Smart Advice

The results will surprise you and enrich your life

Rules are there for a reason!

True—for the most part. Rules are there to keep citizens safe, keep a society civilized, and preserve law and order. No question about that.

Then again…

always sticking to the letter of the law, the fine print of the mission statement of society (or of companies and organizations), and not to its intention, slowly kills. It smothers our spirits. Culls or creativity and let us die a dragged-out and painless death, soothed in mediocrity, comfort, and coziness.

“Breaking the rules” is not about participating in organized crime—ingenious tax-evasion schemes, calling in the help of a local biker gang, or participation in online hacking, but it’s about stepping outside your comfort zone—your secure daily routine and for once, forget about the “silly stifling rules.”

Get away from BORING.

Boring is the brother of bland, of dull, of uninteresting and tedious. But boring is safe. There’s little risk in doing boring. All true, but boring kills. Boring kills initiative, aspirations. and enthusiasm.

Boring kills companies, relationships, creativity, and in the end, people.

Add a new ingredient to your life: imagination. Break the rules!

1 | In The Workplace

    • Bland leadership—command-and-control military-style may serve the purpose of the armed forces:
    • But will kill the spirit of your company—it stifles creative thinking
    • Opt for collaborative collective wisdom—value each team member’s opinion—why do you think Google is successful?
    • Boring meetings – change the format.
    • Make it fun. It’s called imagination.
    • Standing meetings. Walking meetings.
    • Change the venue. Change the time. Get the employees to care—they’ll work harder
    • The silent attender – stop being Silent Sally and Shy Simon: you have a voice. You have an opinion. Speak up. There is a Toastmasters club near you. Join them! You can become a better communicator.
    • Take the day off – GASP! The world will not come to an end if you do something unplanned! Take the significant other/even the kids on a surprise one or two-day vacation. It doesn’t have to break the bank.

2 | Relationships

    • Avoid “same old, same old”– always the same restaurant. Always a movie.
    • Try out the theatre. Go to a musical. Go to the symphony.
    • Flowers: always red roses – serious?
    • Or no flowers at all? Oops!
    • Are you sporting the same haircut, the same style in clothing? Even your cologne hasn’t changed in twenty years.
    • I dare you: change it!
    • Sit down together and talk. Do deep talk. Not about the weather— about your feelings, regrets, hopes, dreams.
    • Have the “no electronic devices in bed” rule.
    • Sex – always the same? Same position? Same time? Same place?
    • You can change that. Surprise him. Surprise her.
    • Get yourself in shape.
    • Get fit. Get strong. Do it together. (Nothing to do with age!)
    • Remember! Doing the above doesn’t mean your significant other all of a sudden has an “affair!”

3| Fiction Writing

    • Conventional wisdom teaches good writing always:
    • Requires “plotting.” Your story needs an outline, a framework.
    • Character arches are crucial.
    • Is your story “character-driven” or “plot-driven?”
    • What if there’s a third alternative?
    • Coined by Steven James: “tension-driven” narrative.
    • Story is more important than a clinical structure.
    • Writing has to be organic; writing has to be more than “paint-by-numbers.”
    • Your writing can be character-centered or plot-centered, but what drives the narrative
    • is adding conflict until the final reckoning and the surprising resolution.

4 | Intentional Reading

    • “But I always read Romance. Other genres are so boring.” Is that the truth or only your limited perception?
    • What if you dare to read outside your genre of habit, for example, historical fiction, literary fiction or biographies?
    • Nothing wrong with escaping from a harsh and dreary life through reading fiction, but what if your reading journey can also help heal emotional and mental wounds? (Discover Healing Power of Writing) Reading can broaden your horizons and help you discover what is possible.(Confessions of a Bibliophile)
    • Start reading nonfiction. Books about personal development, self-help, entrepreneurship and business psychology, and memoirs.
    • Learn to read more. If you don’t read at all, read at least one book a year. Later one book a month, and yet later, one book a week.
    • Explore audiobooks – optimize your time. It will enable you to achieve your reading goals.

5 | Recreation and Fitness

    • You always go for a gentle walk – good, but perhaps boring
    • Alternative: power walk with hiking poles (e.g. Kujiji/second-hand sports equipment shops)
    • Bike riding – same route, same speed, same distance
    • Alternative: longer, faster, harder – stay hydrated
    • Gym: same routine: week in, week out
    • Alternative: change your program. Male or female—it is crucial to build muscle. Do resistance exercises 3x/week
    • Learn and master something NEW: e.g. Land paddling/Stand up paddle board/kayaking
    • Get really FIT. Irrespective of your age! You are NEVER TOO OLD. Mr. Robert Marchand – is a 105-year-old cyclist from Paris. (Age Well...)
    • Not everything is super expensive (A land paddle board cost a third of a reasonable bicycle, a quarter or a fifth of a kayak or SUP board. Only: $ 350.00 US)

Why bother with “breaking the rules?”
    • Boring is deadly
    • Breaking boring opens up new possibilities
    • Enrich your workplace
    • Grow as a person
    • Enrich relationships—spouse/partner, children, friends

Now it’s your turn.

Which “rules” do you break, to put “flavor and spice” back into your life? (You’re welcome to share your article’s link in the comment section!)


    1. Steven James. Story Trumps Structure. How to write unforgettable fiction by breaking the rules.
    2. Toastmasters International: Who we are. 
    3. Land paddling. Street paddling. Kahuna Creations.

© 2017 All rights reserved.

Image – by Lockie

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