We have an abundance of rules and norms that regulate our behaviors and influence our judgement of what we think is right or wrong. To mention only a few common ones, in most countries and cultures there are rules and norms for how fast you can drive, where to park, on what to wear in different contexts, what time we have to appear at work and when we can leave, what you’re allowed to say and to whom, and what you can bring with you on airplanes, and so on.

All these rules and norms make it easy for us to follow. We don’t need to think and evaluate how fast we should drive on this road, or when the most productive time is for us to do work (yes, most people still don’t get to choose). They also set the tone for what is regarded as right or wrong, so we don’t have to define those terms for ourselves and therewith become clear about who we really are and how we want to express ourselves.

I am not suggesting that rules are ‘bad’ or not necessary. I merely urge you to view the obedience to rules and norms as a choice, rather than an obligation! Rules and norms are there to maintain the status quo, to keep things running smoothly as they are. Next time, when you’re not happy with how things are, keep in mind that norms and rules are man-made, no universal laws. They can be broken and changed, as long as you can justify and explain why breaking a rule is better than sticking to it. So, when you find yourself in a situation where a rule or prevailing norm stands in your way to do what you deem right, to do what expresses who you really are – first, give it some thought, then consider breaking it.

Be a Rule-Breaker