Rules to Break

From the actual book. I only wrote down the rules that I actually believed. Some of them were obviously wrong.

“Don’t waste your time on people who aren’t worth it”

I believed this. But no one is ever not worth it.

Sometimes you won’t get anywhere with a particular person. You may find out that you’ve gone out of your way for someone only to find you get snubbed or are unappreciated. Or worse (rarely, I’m relieved to say) that a person has been very rude to you or slighted you behind your back. So that person wasn’t worth it, were they? Nope, doesn’t change a thing. You did the right thing, and kept the moral high ground, and that’s what matters.

It really isn’t for us to judge who is and isn’t worth our time. As Rules players we treat everyone well, and don’t question whether they ‘deserve’ it. It doesn’t hurt us and, once in a while, you may discover a good and loyal friend where you never expected to. And that’s a great feeling.

However, see the rule about [[notes/Rules to Break#Be a friend to everyone|Rules to Break#Be a friend to everyone]]

“Good work speaks for itself”

I believed this. However, the reality is that “in this modern world, management people don’t have time to sit around reflecting on what their team members have been up to.”

If you want them to see what you’re up to, put it right there under their nose. And then point at it. Of course, you’re still not allowed to brag.

Rewritten rule: No one at work will know how good you are unless you tell them.

I still slightly disagree with this new rule.

“Be a friend to everyone”

Certainly, treat everybody well, but we don’t have to like everyone.

“Look after yourself is number one priority”

This implies being selfish, focusing on your own needs and sod everyone else. This is me, the selfish Steven.

However, we can still achieve this by helping others. In fact, helping other people makes you feel good about yourself.

“Just ignore the bullies”

I do that. Ignoring the bullies. I don’t like conflict. But most often ignoring bullies doesn’t work. It implies that it’s my fault.

“Actions speak louder than words”

Sometimes words are super powerful, as much as actions. Tell them you love, care, value and appreciate them.

Some people have a such low opinion of themselves, they don’t recognize others’ appreciation unless it’s spelt out in capital letters right under their nose.

New rule: Don’t take anyone for granted

“Always seek to improve yourself”

This is a big one. I really value self-improvement.

However, this author argues that while we can always improve strong positive values, when it comes to skills, it’s just silly to try to be good at everything. No one can manage that.

So accept your shortcomings is the new rule. Accepting our shortcomings isn’t an excuse to tell ourselves we’re rubbish and there’s no point trying. We all have strengths, and we owe it to ourselves to find out what they are and develop them. It’s just about being realistic.

“Give Good Advice”

This is about emotional advice - whether to leave a gf, handle mother, leave job.

Don’t give advice because these things are based heavily on feelings.

“You can’t learn anything from a fool”

Similar to the advice about wasting time spending it with people who aren’t worth it.

The thing is, we can always learn from other people’s mistakes. So do that.

“Live in the Present”

No, keep perspective. Looking to the future is a great way to deal with current problems, crises, disasters.

“Know what you want”

What? Why shouldn’t you know what you want?

I’m lucky to know what I want. But for most people, life doesn’t come so easy. I also tend to think other people should be like me. This is really bad and makes me a horrible person. Because the implication is that it’s their fault that they have no driving ambition or sense of direction.