Who likes rules? Why do we need rules? What are they good for? Why do we like breaking them? Must we have so many rules? Are we, in this enlightened 21st century still in need of endless lists telling us what to do; where, when and how and why to do something? Have you noticed that no matter your profession or station in life…there are rules (either implied or written) to live by. No matter your age or stage, rules are everywhere erected. If you’re a driver of an automobile, there are rules that govern how you must move your vehicle about the streets. If you engage in sports, there are rules that guide your chosen game of play. If you are a writer, a teacher, a lawyer, an engineer, a scientist, a parent or a child, there are rules for you to behold and live by. If you are the least bit interested in having a healthy body, there are rules that tell you what to eat, when to eat, how to eat, and where to eat. And of course there are rules that tell us how much sleep and awake time we should take as well as how much movement (exercise) we should engage in compared to our non-moving activities. Rules….rules…rules…they are everywhere!
The sheer magnitude of rules must give evidence to the fact that they are necessary and helpful in guiding us how best to live; but honestly, if we believe that rules are so important, why do we take such fiendish delight in breaking them? Ah, this question does strike at the very core of human nature does it not? We crave rules! We want some thing, some one, some code to tell us what is right or what is best in regards to conducting our lives. As much as we like to have choices, we also want security in knowing that a certain decision or behavior is supported by others. As much as we push against rules, we really do seem to need them don’t we? Having rules to live by means that many people down through the ages have thought long and hard about what it takes to make living together in a society happy and safe; whether it be a team sport, or club, or business or? When we look at rule making from this perspective, having rules to live by really does provide us with a sense of security and safety…especially if we know and believe that those with whom we interact also value a shared set of rules. It seems to me that we love rules so much because they show us that we are capable of thinking, perceiving, and reflecting about what matters to us. If we were automatons without intellect, we would have no need for rules. Our existence would be ‘guided’ by lines of code written onto our hard drive memory banks.
So I guess rules aren’t so bad after all. Maybe we should learn to embrace the rules of life with a positive perspective rather than with disdain. Should we try never to break a rule? Probably not…but at least we can appreciate that they are in place to add to our happiness and not take away from it.
“People who play by the Rules seem to bring their luck with them, light up a room when they enter, have more enthusiasm for life, and cope better.”
Richard Templar, in The Rules of Life.
Rule Reading Fun: The Runner’s Rule Book by Mark Remy
The Rules of Life by Richard Templar