If you’re reading this, you should break some rules. Now, I’m not suggesting anything crazy–and I’m definitely not saying it’s time you pull a bank job. But it is time for you to step outside of your comfort zone.
How old are you? 20? 30? 50? Great, it’s time to do something you’ve never allowed yourself to do before. Why? Because regret is like the ocean. Deep and dark, it will rush in at a moment’s notice and swallow you whole. And if you don’t do everything you’ve ever wanted while you still can, you will drown.
Someday, in the distant future, you will look back on your life and think about all the things you never did and the risks you didn’t take.
You’ll think about the time your friends wanted to parasail, but you absolutely could not because you were terrified of heights. Or all of the times you didn’t eat a cheeseburger, even though you really, really wanted it. Or the time you fell in love with a boy who wasn’t “right” for you, so you let him walk away.
Who made all of these rules and decided what you can and can’t do? Answer: It was you.
And you have the power to stop living in a constant state of limitation.
As a rule-follower myself, I know how hard it is hard to relinquish the control you feel when completing a task by the book. And if the book has always said that you’re afraid of heights, then you must be. And maybe you are–but why should that stop you?
William Ernest Henley said it best: “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
The only person holding you back from anything, literally anything you’ve ever wanted, is you. The person who decides that you can’t be what you want to be or do what you want to do is you. By internally mandating what you can eat, do, how you can act, what you can say, you are limiting yourself. And you can stop.
So, break a rule.
Choose the one you’ve always stuck to and defy it. It could be something superficial, like buying a new shirt you love even if you’re not as thin as the mannequin.
If you love it, do it. Cut your hair even if you’re scared. Skip your workout or fall asleep even though you’re “too busy.” Call out of work once in a while or quit your job if you’re not happy. Make room for the things that you love, even if they’re not normal. For once, say “yes” to a new adventure, especially if you’re afraid.
Be spontaneous. Be responsible. Be everything that you’ve never let yourself be before. And don’t compromise your values for anyone or anything. Be selfish in the pursuit of all things that will make you happy and stop caring about what it will look like if you fail.
And most of all, stop putting yourself in that box where you are bound by the rules you’ve written for yourself.