I don’t like rules!

I don’t like rules — particularly those that I made. I break them all the times. I was always troubled by the fact that I am undisciplined and compulsive and always envious of those who are disciplined. I thought and hoped that one day I would become better when I grow up. Now I am old enough to know that the age was not an issue. Then, this morning as I wanted to break yet another rule that I made (a promise that I made with my family), I realized that my detest (or failure) of rule-following had to do with meaning.

Here’s the story. Several months ago, my wife and I decided that we would eat out our Sunday brunch with our boys before we go to Sunday service. The idea is that instead of rushing to the church on Sunday morning, let’s slow down and have some time to talk. We explore different places — McDonalds, a local diner, Panera, etc. We enjoy coming up new ideas and experiment with those new places. I would bring Sunday New York Times and read while kids were eating and talking.

Overtime, however, it became ritual. Now we have to go somewhere. It seems as if there are no more places that anyone of us are interested in going within the constraint we have on Sunday morning. But, we must go. Somewhere. Wherever. So, we go even though none of us are really happy to be there. We rush through the meal and go to church. The event lost its lust and meaning and it became a rule. And I want to break that rule.

Not liking rules is to remain committed to the meaning of what we do. So, instead of thinking about rule-following (or rule-breaking), I should try to remain faithful to the meaning of what I do. All of sudden, I am free from rules.

Professor | Writer | Teacher Digital Innovation, Design, Organizational Genetics Case Western Reserve University

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