Break the rules. That’s the advice I give people who are feeling constrained or stifled by the endless rules that abound in life or art or anything for that matter.
Sometimes they are arbitrary. Sometimes they are illogical. Sometimes they are archaic. Sometimes they are passed off as defining right and wrong. They all have something in common though: rules are conceived to control your behavior. Some people like to be controlled and even using my best intuitive and empathetic powers I can’t fathom or comprehend such a thing. I don’t like to be controlled.
I have to admit that my advice on rules needs to get better because when I say you should break the rules what I really mean is that you should most often ignore them. Why the subtle shift in wording? Because in consciously choosing to break a rule your behavior has been just as influenced as if you followed the rule. And breaking the rules just to break the rules is thoughtless. Don’t be thoughtless. Whereas if you act with as much indifference to the rules as possible your behavior is much more your own.
Choose your own path. Maybe it will be within the rules, maybe it won’t. The goal is not to break the rules. The goal is to be you. Let someone else decide if you are breaking the rules. They will most assuredly let you know. Which is of course when you tell them to piss off.
You see being yourself is hard. Not being battered and bruised and cowed into submission by the rule followers is the even harder. Or face being ostracized. While following your own rules has great benefits so does following the rules. And the rule followers are very willing to withhold those benefits. It’s what they do. It’s how they exert influence.
Whether those benefits are worth giving up is a personal issue. Sometimes they are sometimes they’re not. It’s not a judgment, it’s a choice.
Now before I go I must pass on the Golden Rule of Breaking Rules. Breaking rules should not knowingly be at the expense of someone else. You know, like cutting ahead in line or much worse. It’s bad form. Most of us inherently know when it’s bad form. Listen to that voice in your heart that tells you that. It usually knows its stuff. Break the rules but don’t break them bad.