For a good portion of my life I was a rule follower. Wish I could say that’s a good thing, but being resistant to breaking rules can work against progress. Here’s why.
Rule followers do so for a number of reasons. If you are one it’s probably because you…
- want to do things the “right” way
- don’t want to get in trouble
- want to fly under the radar
- don’t want to take risks
- want to be efficient
- are uncomfortable with change
But sometimes breaking rules is the “right” way. Sometimes you have to get in trouble or rock the boat to make things happen. And sometimes the rules are anything but efficient. Just ask anyone who has ever had to fill out their own tax forms.
Sometimes you’re moving so fast to get things done that you don’t even realize you’re following rules that would be better broken. Slow down and assess your current results to see if some changes would improve your outcomes.
I’ve learned to follow my gut and do what feels right instead of blindly following the rules (within legal and ethical limits of course). What’s resulted? Increased success, greater creativity & innovation, more fulfillment and less stress.
A New Way to Think
If you’re stuck in a rut as a rule follower, your new mantra should be “Ask forgiveness, not permission.”
If you’re trying to improve your time management, develop better habits or get more organized there are very few hard and fast rules. (Heard the one about touching a piece of paper once? It’s garbage.) What you need to do is what works for you. Especially if that means breaking rules.
*I still wouldn’t pick up the goats. What kind of jerk would freak out a goat?