I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to rules and the importance of challenging them in our lives. The rules we impose on others, the rules others impose on us, and the rules society seemingly places on everyone as a whole. When I talk about rules, I mostly mean the way we are told certain things need to be done from a very young age. At this age you’re supposed to move out of the house. At this point, you should know what you want to do as your career. After this many years, you should be married. The list goes on. While some of these rules can be helpful markers for setting goals and motivating oneself, overall they paint the picture that there is only one road map for life, and if we want to do things right, we’re all to follow it.
This idea always perplexed me in a way that seems obvious — no two people are the same, so how is one path supposed to suit everyone? I always think of the example of sitting down with someone you admire and asking them how they got from where they started to where they are now. While the story will likely be inspiring, it is never going to provide a blueprint for you to get to that same place. Finding your path requires shutting out the external examples, and looking inward to figure out what direction you’re naturally leaning towards. While it’s certainly easier said than done, I always go back to one simple trick that unfailingly guides me through life’s difficult decisions: listening to my gut.
I’ve learned over time that most everyone expels advice based on their own personal experiences, and while this can be helpful, it’s also important to know that it’s not the rule. Inevitably we are the only ones living with our decisions, so only we can determine what’s right for us. Instead of feeling confined, why not relinquish the rules for a bit? Thinking of changing careers? Traveling solo? Moving across the country? Let go of the framework that you’ve been told to live within, and chart your own course. Instead of asking permission, move forward in the direction that feels right for you. You’ll be surprised how liberting it can be once you know you’ve done something solely because you believed in it, not because everyone told you it was the right thing to do.