Playing by the rules is something good people like to do. But sometimes those rules we play by? Um, they don’t exist.
So this week I thought I’d list a few of the “rules” that conscientious people seem to live by, and pose the question:
Are these really rules? Or are they just fixed ideas that limit us unnecessarily?
- You can’t go into business unless you know accounting (or write up a business plan, or have investors, etc.)
- You can’t call yourself an expert unless you have credentials on paper
- You can’t be self-employed unless you enjoy self-promotion
- You can’t honestly validate someone’s feelings if you don’t agree with them
- You have to say Yes to a friend’s invitation unless you’re legitimately busy
- You can’t be angry or disappointed unless you’re prepared to do something about it
Are you playing by any of these rules? In my opinion, none of the above is actually a rule. But some of them sure feel like it.
Let’s take the “can’t turn down an invitation from a friend unless you’re genuinely busy” rule.
Whenever I RSVP online to an Evite invitation, I scroll through the No’s to read the excuses.
It’s remarkable how many people are out of town on any given weekend, no matter what the time of year. Or having house guests, or surgery, or accepting an award, or performing a heart transplant…
Many of us need to feel like we have a legitimate excuse to say No, because we think we’re letting people down by doing so. It feels like we’re breaking a “good person” rule, and we’d better not do that unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Wouldn’t it be nice if introverts (I got your back, peeps) could just say, “Thanks for the invite, but I don’t like parties. Have fun!”
I think they should. If more of us subverted these rules, eventually they wouldn’t be rules anymore.
Can you think of other “rules” you’d rather not follow?