– Drew Jones
In this age of moral relativism we are all expected to abide by certain rules that just don’t make sense. What’s worse is that if we don’t keep someone’s rules then we are deemed untrustworthy, imprudent and even immoral.
In the previous sentence, I said “someone’s rules”. I say this because when we were children we blindly abided by outrageous rules because some system or institution promoted them. However, as adults we learn that these rules are actually deemed appropriate by a person. What’s more, these people who make the rules might not have the appropriate knowledge or emotional integrity to establish such rules.
I'm writing this guide so that you can read it and successfully use the tools and knowledge that I offer to break rules and not be seen as untrustworthy, imprudent or immoral. Be it work, school, church, friendships, family; whatever the institution, this guide can be used and should prove as an appropriate alternative to blindly following rules.
Why the rules? Who made them?
The first thing you must understand is: why do the rules exist? Moreover, who created them?
You must understand the institution in which the rules were made for. Once you have a comprehensive understanding of the institution, you must then understand the person who made the rules.
If the rules were created to establish and maintain interpersonal conduct and safety, odds are the rules are well thought out and rational – example: boundaries for a caseworker who works with mental health patients.
If the rules were created to establish order or power, then odds are the rules were made mostly on emotional insight – example: a child’s curfew, or support staff vs managerial boundaries. Yes, these rules were created for safety, or to promote diligence but they also have a strong emphasis on an emotional boundary that must not be crossed by certain individuals. For example, the mother would be worried sick if the child was out past curfew, and the manager would feel defied if her staff were completing her duties.
Some questions you should ask yourself when understanding the rules:
1. Does the institution have a history of accommodating member’s needs?
2. Do the rules generally make sense?
3. Does the person in charge (making the rules) generally seem logically and emotionally stable?
4. What is your gut instinct about the rules?
Should you break the rules? - this ones for all the haters***
All rules can be broken and no rule is deemed perfect. However, even if this is true, should you break a rule?
If you are contemplating breaking a rule then you have to be okay with the repercussions of breaking the rule that are set forth by the institution that promote them. Only you can decide if this rule should be broken, and only you are responsible for breaking it. (This is not a guide on how to blame shift or how to cheat the system.) You may have to lie to get away with some of the rule breaking. You also need to understand if lying to break the rules has serious repercussions… if you are afraid to hurt yourself or others with lying, the rule might not be worth breaking.
Note: If your rule breaking is going to seriously harm others in a physical, emotional or spiritual way, I strongly suggest not breaking it. God knows we all have to follow an abundant amount of bull shit rules every day so, with proper reflection, break those rules; do not break rules regarding safety and general well-being of others.
1. Be above reproach – follow the rules.
Before you decide to break any rules – even if you learn very quickly that the rules are bunk – follow them. Become above reproach and prove to everyone around you that you do, in fact, follow the rules. Do this for a few months, not simply a few days or weeks.
If you know you’re going to be a long lasting member of the institution, follow each rule (even new ones) for a while before you decide to break them. During this time of following the rules, learn the ins and outs of each of them. Learn why they exist and who implemented them.
Do not simply follow a rule because it is there; challenge it in your heart and mind. Use your emotional intelligence and study your prey – the rule – and learn the best way to break it. Learn what the institutional and emotional repercussions of breaking the rule will be. Learn how you will hurt the institution and individual who created them. If you are okay with harming something or someone by breaking the rule, and if you feel like the repercussions are insignificant to you (perhaps others as well), the institution and the rule makers integrity, then plan to break it.
2. Become very close with the person who makes and/or enforces the rules.
Build a strong relationship with whoever enforces the rules – often times, this is also the same person who makes the rules. This relationship should come out of your time keeping the rules. By building this relationship you will better understand why the rules are kept and/or made and decipher if you’re willing to break them.
Furthermore, by befriending this individual, you will gain their trust. As time passes, the idea that you will break the rules will be so far from their mind that it will seem impossible.
Their trust is extremely important if you want to break rules and get away with it.
Flaunt your keeping of the rules to them (and anyone else close to you in the institution) – make it very known that you are excited about keeping the rules. By always reminding them of your good behaviour, your future bad behaviour can easily be swept under the rug or ignored. Remember to do this even if you are breaking the rules. Example – a child breaks curfew on a Friday night. On Saturday, she tells her mom about the amazing time she had before curfew with her friends. She embellishes the amount of fun she had. Note: you don’t have to outright lie during this process. Simply keep the truth about staying out late out of it (I suppose this is a lie as well, but whatever).
Professional rules are much harder to break than personal rules or boundaries. However, professional rules and personal rules can be intertwined and one affects the other. For example, a professor sets a due date for a certain project. If a student has a good, personal relationship with the professor she may make an adjustment for that student. Another example is when a tragedy happens with the family of a student and the professor pushes back all due dates so that a funeral can be attended or whatever.
Your relationship will not only help your rule breaking go unnoticed, it will help the rule keeper/maker break the rules as well. Do not underestimate the power of your relationship with this person. You can influence them greatly if they appreciate your friendship.
3. Never talk about breaking the rules
This one is hard because we all love to share our victories with the people around us. However, I strongly urge you to keep your entire rule breaking deep in your heart and mind. Do not share this with ANYONE – take it to the grave (seriously). It doesn't matter how small or insignificant the rule is, keep it a secret – pretend like it didn't even happen.
4. Have a fall-back plan
During 1 and 2, create a fall-back plan that you will implement if someone learns about your rule breaking and if you get in trouble. Create a fall-back plan that involves some sort of emotional reasoning behind it – people will be more merciful if you had an emotional reason to breaking a rule as opposed to simply breaking it because you didn't like it. Also, your fall-back plan should include keeping another rule that overstepped the current, broken, rule. If a decent fall back plan cannot be created, perhaps breaking the rule is not a suitable course of action.
5. What to do if you’re in trouble…
Implement your fall-back plan and fall back on your relationship to help weather the storm. Ultimately, these two factors should ensure that you can get out of any negative circumstances and avoid repercussions to breaking the rules.
Depending on the rule and its severity, you may want to consider denying breaking it. However, you've already settled in your heart that you are okay with the repercussions of breaking the rule, so I suggest that you actually tell the truth.
If the repercussions of breaking the rule are not very severe, own up to your rule breaking and use it as a chance to create a stronger relationship with the rule maker/supporter. If you appear to be honest and sincere, you can, eventually, bring your relationship back around and re-establish trust.
You can also fall back on ignorance or (if it does not affect anyone else in the institution) you can say you felt forced to break the rule. Note: blaming someone else in the institution will only make things worse and then you've got other interpersonal issues on your hands.
6. Adopt at “Robin Hood” mentality – be kind to everyone (become a sociopath?)
Robin Hood is a perfect example of someone who broke rules for the good of other people. Ultimately, your rule breaking is (probably) good for at least you. Therefore, you are Robin Hood if only for yourself.
On the other hand, perhaps your rule breaking is good for others as well. While in relationships with others in the institution, let them know that you care about what’s going on in their world. Propose that you are sensitive to the needs of everyone in the community of the institution. They will never know that you break the rules (cause you’ll never tell them – even if it’s on their behalf) but they will support you as an honest and caring person.
Kindness is very often overlooked in our society. But it is very important if you are going to get away with rule breaking. People must trust you, but they must also see you as a kind and caring person. Kindness and truth are two of the most important pieces to a relationship. You must promote yourself and kind and truthful above all else.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments and concerns!
EDITS: *Removed spoiler tags for all the haters
** Fixed a few spelling or wording mistakes
*** Added a small note on the title of "Should You Break the Rules" section. I did not change anything in
this section, I simply added this note. I understand this blog may (or may not) be unethical, but its about
breaking the rules, wtf did you expect?