“They” say always be polite.
“They” say get a college education.
“They” say eat your vegetables.
“They” say make your bed.
I like being polite (though sometimes not being polite is necessary), appreciate my college education even though I’m not working in that field (and I recognize it’s not for everyone), and love vegetables (and I’m dumbfounded that some people don’t). But, I don’t see value in making my bed. I’m just going to unmake it again the next time I see it.
“They” say get eight hours of sleep.
“They” say wash your hands.
“They” say wear clean underwear.
“They” say wear sun protection.
“They” say your life expectancy is about 78 years.
Eight hours of sleep makes me feel well-rested (though I know some who need less and some who need more), washing my hands makes me feel clean (though don’t give me antibacterial soap), and sun protection — be it a hat, long shirt, or sunscreen — keep me feeling healthy (and it’s not for everyone). My parents and grandparents lived longer than 78, so who is it thinks I’ll live a shorter time than they did? (I’m planning on living to be about 150, so am bucking the “they”s of the world.) And, if I’m planning on being in an accident, the quoted reason to be wearing clean underwear, I don’t see value in having it be clean because it won’t be clean after the accident and nobody will be the wiser.
Who is “they”? Why do “they” come up with rules for my life — or yours? How do “they” think they know what’s best for me? What makes them think “they” have a say in my life? When will “they” back off?
For every rule, there’s a reason to break that rule — or a different and often conflicting rule. Breaking the Rules
Frankly, I feel rules are meant to be broken, or least bent. Push the envelope to see what interesting finds you can make in how rules create your life. “They” may not like it, but it’s not their life.
For every approach to life, there’s a different approach that works just as well — if not better. In fact, I think it’s valuable to apply different approaches to the same situation each time you encounter it. Not every time, but often enough to keep life interesting and to keep my brain “on its toes”. “They” may want to keep things the same, which is fine in their life. That doesn’t work as well in my life, though. Where do you stand on that?
Life isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. It’s an affair of nuances and differences; it comes in different shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors. There is a delightful array of options in life — when you allow it or encourage it. You may be catching onto this by now, but I like variety. I think variety keeps life interesting. I think variety and differences are what make the world go round. “They” may think their solution is perfect and right. And it might be…for them. But it might not be for me, or you. And, since I’m living *my* life, the solutions I come up with are what’s meaningful for me. Have you thought about what’s meaningful for you, and what rules you should be breaking?
Sure, we may make mistakes with our approaches to life, but that’s how we learn. That’s how we grow as humans. When we let *our* personality and preferences shine through, we are happier. When we are happier, we make better contributions to the world we live in. I think that’s important. In fact, that may be what’s paramount to a purpose-driven life.
“They” say to live your best life. I can get behind that “they” statement. I’m all for a life well lived. I’ll add that you get to decide what your life looks like and how you define “well lived”. If it’s not what you want, make a change, do things differently, follow your self-leadership to make it what you want. Maybe you want or need help in regaining your agency, your control over your life. That’s where a coach comes in. Get one and start working on making your life *yours*. I’d be glad to be your guide to your life well lived.