Monday, June 18, 2012

Play By Your Own Rules

When you look at your life, what do you see? Are you happy and satisfied with the things you have done, knowing you are doing exactly what you should be doing? Or, like most of us, are you constantly searching for something more? Group one is playing the game of life with their own rules, whereas group 2 is playing by someone else's rules. You are never going to be happy with your life until you start living it in the way you know is right.

Society shows us the people in charge are the ones who get to make the rules. Their rules will fit them well, but they may not work for you. You can see this played out every day in our Congress. In our own slice of life, we can see this in the companies we work for. In nearly every company, you will find an employee handbook telling you what you can and can't do. Many of these have become 50+ pages long and these are the rules you have to follow to play the game. Deviations from these rules can lead to your termination, no matter how trivial the rule (not to mention the question of whether it should be a rule to begin with).

I'm not saying that there should be anarchy and everyone should do whatever they want whenever they want. There have to be some rules in place to hold people accountable for heinous acts, even though the vast majority of us wouldn't commit them in the first place. But, and this is a big but, we have to write the rules for our own life. We don't have to follow the path society tells us we should follow. We don't have to crave the things society tells us we should crave. We don't have to behave in the ways society tells us we need to behave. If we want to stand out, then we should stand out. We have to figure out what matters to us (easier said than done) and then go after it. We have to follow the path we were meant to follow, no matter how difficult and different and stop following the path everyone thinks we should.

You are going to have people in your life who don't understand why you can't be happy working a 9-5 corporate job. You are going to have people in your life who don't understand why more responsibility doesn't make you happy. You are going to have people in your life who don't understand why you are not content with the life you are living. You are going to have people in your life who don't understand why you don't want the newest and prettiest toys like everyone else. You are going to have people in your life who don't understand why you would give up so much for what appears to them to be very little. You are going to have people in your life who just don't understand. That's okay, but you have to stop listening to them.

Your life is more important to you than anyone else. You know more about what makes you tick than anyone else. You know what your secret dreams are. You know what you want more than anything, even if you don't yet realize it. You know what scares the shit out of you. You may not know exactly what you should do next, but you know when something isn't for you. When you realize this, what do you do? Do you listen to the people who don't understand or do you figure out what you need to do to get you a little closer to your goals? Do you continue to play the game with someone else's rules or do you start playing your own game, by your own rules?

You are responsible for your actions and your happiness and your success. You get to define your happiness and success. You get to decide what sort of life you want to lead. You get to be who you want to be. No one else gets to make these decisions for you. You can try to fit your life into someone else's idea of what a good life should be, but deep down, you will know you aren't doing what you should be doing. You will constantly spin your wheels and yearn for something more.

Is playing by your own rules scary? You bet your ass it is. You are going to fail at something. You will work harder than you have ever worked in your life. You will take responsibility for you. You will learn to ignore the naysayers and become amazing at not letting people convince you that you are wrong. You will have to be comfortable with the people you hold in high regard not always supporting your decisions. You will need to stop worrying what other people think. You must become comfortable with forging your own path without a map, because you are going someplace no one else has.

This is your life. This is your happiness. This is your success. These are your dreams. Embrace them and start playing by your own rules.

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