I was having coffee and a yummy (yes, chocolate) croissant with my Bestie when the conversation veered, smack dab, into a brick wall. It went down like this:
Bestie: … I need to know that I can make money to support myself before I can do that.
Me: So, security is really important to you.
Bestie: Yes! I need to have that. I would love to try, but I can’t support myself doing that.
Bestie: That’s it?
Bestie: Well, you think I can make money at that?
Bestie: Well how when…
Then my sweet, beautiful, Bestie, went on to list 15 million reasons why her rule was true! Okay not fifteen million, but enough conditions to make it clear that trying a new business idea would not happen for a very, very, very long time. Me? I had a different point of view. I believe we all have the capability to achieve extraordinary things.
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Have you ever noticed that people believe what they want to believe irrespective of evidence to the contrary? But what is true for my Bestie is that her conditions and beliefs are true and real for her, precisely because, she set them up that way.
What if you could set up your life so that you could win no matter what? Would you be down for learning something like that?
(By the way, Calvin is one of my favorite comic strip characters. The wisdom of Calvin just cannot be denied! You can find more “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strips here)
I noticed that I get really excited when I am sharing my rule about something that I think works, but I just don’t have the same enthusiasm when I’m talking about a rule that, well, I think is dumb, dangerous, or just won’t work. The rules I hate the most are the rules that are just rules for rules sake. Do you know what I mean?
Rules, rules and more rules. The more I looked at this rule thing, the more I saw rules everywhere: There are the rules of the game, the rules of the road, the rules of society, etiquette, friendships, relationships, the classroom, the rules at work, and so on. I even had a rule about the toilet paper roll. If you’re curious about the rule, I believe it should be under, because it is easier to pull off what you need, and my husband insists that it should be over because it is more efficient. Efficient? Really? See how out of hand this rule thing can be?
What’s with all of these conditions, anyway? Hey! Have you noticed that everyone has rules? Even for, well, happiness. For example, I will be happy when I have five million dollars in the bank, when I have lost 15 pounds, when my children are happy, when my husband loves his job, when I don’t have a house payment, and when I can achieve a vertical side kick at age 53. If all of those conditions are met, then I will be happy. And you know what? It sounds like I am going to be pretty miserable — for a long time.
What if my script was, “I will be happy when I open my eyes in the morning?” This rule is so much easier to meet, and happiness is so much more likely to happen every, single day!
Perhaps, it’s time to take a lesson from Calvin, and create our own versions of Calvin Ball?!
Change the Friggin Rules. When we simply change the conditions for our rules, and practice them, eventually the new rules take the place of the old rules, and thus, a new habit is formed.But more importantly, happiness happens faster and stays longer!
So, I am wondering what are your rules and are they working for you? If some of your rules are messing with your happiness, this worksheet My Rules, My Way will help you change the rules to be in your favor. Remember that the people, things, and experiences you want in your life are proxies for how you want to feel. Keep that in mind when you work through the sheet. How do you want to feel about yourself, your life, and who you hang out with?
Gretchen Rubin talks about how we interact with inner and outer rules in relation to successfully adopting habits in her Ted Talk below, “The 4 Ways to Successfully Adopt New Habits.” I found it helped me not only identify how I interact with rules, it also helped me set up the game to win. By the way, when your goals conflict with your rules, you have some trouble making your goals happen. (I think I just gave you a rule:))
The truth is, you are an adult, now, and now you have the power to set up the rules, your way. So go for it! You have the right, and the responsibility to make your happiness happen.
If you have any questions, or have some rules that you want to talk about, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need some help with mindset or skill set development, you can go to my website for more information at challengeyourvision.com
Thanks for reading and until next time,
May the rules be forever in your favor!
You are so much more than who you believe yourself to be!