Why do I break rules so often?

Oh Aji! Why! Why do you break rules? You are not suppose to come to office late! You were suppose to join %$%% (designing compilers) not Grmtech (getting links and cheapo work) ! You are not suppose to put such a crappy title for your blog post “MBA is not about $%$%$% but about ^%^%^^“! (thats my next post) You are suppose to put the books in the library not in your cabin! You are suppose to sleep at 12 why you wake up till 4! and so on and on. I keep asking myself, “Why do I break rules so often?“.

I too know that rules are for better manageability and scalability but still it is not what defines success and happiness (or the purpose). IF THERE WAS A MANTRA OF SUCCESS THROUGH CONVENTIONAL WISDOM THEN EVERYBODY WOULD HAVE FOLLOWED IT.

The latest to my crime is opening a library in my cabin
Visitors around the cabin
(Prabhat and Anirudh, early birds to the cabinet book stall)

Zoom in to cabinet book stall
(Zooooooooomm in)

Do I really break rules?
No, I don’t. I really don’t! I follow them more than others as I follow the purpose and sometimes follow the theme closer than others. People do break rules but I really don’t :), I redefine (fine tune) it. Let’s take the above example that why I didn’t break the rule here.

Rule: “All books should be bought through library process and kept in library”.
Broken: “Bought it myself, kept in cabin, did not make an entry in library and became librarian myself”.
Purpose of a library:

  • People should read books, thats the only purpose. TRUST ME, thats the only purpose.

Purpose of a rule:

  • When we lost some books, when there were too many books and when it became unmanageable we made the above said rules. It wasn’t needed initially but later it was introduced.

Purpose of redefining/breaking rule:

  • People should read books, thats the only purpose. TRUST ME.

What about manageability?

  • Let the problem arise but before that let’s focus on purpose :). Once the problem arises (a good problem to have) we will make a rule and later will break it again.

I think more purpose oriented than rule oriented and believe that rules are made for us not we for rules, break it (oops i mean redefine) more often so that the purpose is fulfilled. There are many examples where breaking the rules helped, just search around and you will get many many examples.

17 thoughts on “Why do I break rules so often?

  1. Anirudh

    amazing point of view aji….i agree with all of them

    specially >> Let the problem arise but before that let’s focus on purpose :). Once the problem arises (a good problem to have) we will make a rule and later will break it again.

    when we are trying to do something different its very important that we think about the purpose rather than its consequences.

    I hope to read all of them…but will start from “All Marketers are Liars”

    Thanks once again Aji 🙂

  2. Manojit

    Rules are there to make ourselves better. And if these do not help us, then it becomes mandatory to redefine the rule on the basis of our needs. It helps the system to reflect much better results.

  3. Susmita

    I like this concept, it’s something new:) but…there are instances even in history when people tried to go the unconventional way and perhaps broke the rules..often the purpose is interpreted in a totally different way. But even then I know people like you will again come up with something new and even if you commit a crime, again something new will come into your mind. This is because you have the right spirit which becomes a necessity for survival in the corporate world. And, it is because of this spirit that nothing deters you from breaking rules time and again.

    Good luck.

  4. dewdrops

    Rules are made to make our life easy and manageable but sometimes they suffocate us and thus comes the NECESSITY to break ooops redefine them 🙂

  5. Shyama Kant

    >>believe that rules are made for us not we for rules
    Really Aji, I agree that purpose are more important than the rules.

    Thanx for the post 🙂

  6. AjiNIMC Post author

    >> I hope to read all of them…but will start from “All Marketers are Liars”
    Do read all, Seth’s books are good. I read few pages 🙂

    >> Thanks Aji, that was just divine..
    :), thanks

    >> then it becomes mandatory to redefine
    Yes but sometimes we go the other way and blame it than redefining it. We need to believe that “We are breaking so that we can make (a little better)”.

    >>often the purpose is interpreted in a totally different way
    Yes people do but with due time people understand the purpose. Patience and endurance are needed at times. Thanks for the comment Susmita.

    >> they suffocate us and thus comes the NECESSITY to break ooops redefine the
    Yeah I agree, understanding the purpose is what I am stressing on.

    It is not to become a rebel but to understand the purpose and accept changes. Happy working!

  7. Antara

    I believe that rules are necessary to lead a disciplined life.
    But again, when they are followed blindly, it leads to stagnation.

  8. Anindita

    If possible can you please break the rule ‘first come first serve’ sir?
    As i am the last one in the list for godin’s book 🙁

  9. AjiNIMC Post author

    >> I believe that rules are necessary to lead a disciplined life.
    hi Antara, welcome to the blog. Yes disciplined life is very important but remember that rules are made by imperfect people like us and was based on that present moment. Also sometimes the rules are made because of some careless people but all had to follow. Following rules are very important but at times it is good to break (redefine) it. For our college annual day company heads were expecting invitation cards but I preferred invitation cds :), it worked better but many thought I was breaking the rule. A purpose oriented rule following can give us a better life.

    >> If possible can you please break the rule ‘first come first serve’ sir?
    broken, new rule “come and will be served if available” 🙂

    Thanks for all the comments

  10. saikat

    read the post and all comments. to be honest aji, rules have always annoyed me starting from school. i 100% agree with your line “Also sometimes the rules are made because of some careless people but all had to follow.” basically there is a dilemma. its difficult for rule-makers (assuming they are perfect) to spot the people who do not need rules but objectives in their lives. but frankly speaking such people are rare.

    therefore, the group that do not need rules but objectives becomes minority and suffer. the only way to get rid of this situation is to REDEFINE the rules, but then who should have the power to redefine the rules? if a kid claims to redefine rules, parents just cannot let him do this unless they are assured that the kid has that ability.

    bottomline is: rules are essential, but there should be relaxations for good people. neither “first come first serve” nor the “come and will be served if available” may be useful in certain cases. if the 9th person in the waiting list needs a book and its urgent – the book should be served to him/her.

  11. AjiNIMC Post author

    >> The only way to get rid of this situation is to REDEFINE the rules, but then who should have the power to redefine the rules?
    Everyone at their own levels. I am tempted to write about this “Rule book for breaking rules”.

    >>but frankly speaking such people are rare.
    But can be created and be choosen else throw them off and get new. Some companies have tried this and some good people actually joined them because of that. Good people attract good people.

    >> rules are essential
    The motive behind the rules should be given higher priority than the rule itself, which the rule makers sometimes forget.

    >> if the 9th person in the waiting list needs a book and its urgent – the book should be served to him/her.
    Call it ambulance service and let every person have 2 (or X) ambulance cards, paid a premium for that for such situations. Once we understand the problem and really understand that it needs a solution, we are sure to find a solution for it :). Its about our believe in rules VS our believe in people.

    Very tempted to write the next post about it. Saikat, your comments add so much to every post I make. I will force you comment on each of my blog post 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  12. saikat

    you know what aji, each individual has unique orientation. its really really difficult to set a single set of rules for all. also, there are different routes to reach to your destination too. somehow i believe there are groups that need rules and groups that don’t. now it’s a question which group rule-makers do belong to?

    >>Saikat, your comments add so much to every post I make. I will force you comment on each of my blog post
    its my pleasure.

  13. ciby

    itz absolutely true…hav 2 agree wid it completely…i actually realizd it nw…ive been brkin rules..umm often i guezz n itz lik almost frm primary levels we’re made 2 realize dat “rules” r 2 b followd as perfctly as dey r made…well..thinkin on dis note..itz lik evn if we brk rules or not…but we neva think or rathr neva make an effort 2 imbibe within us d purpose…as 2 y we doin dis n is der actually ny utility..cz rules r 4 makin our lyfz simpler..but itz often d odr way around…hence,we can conclude dat rules shud b redefind…
    Thnks aji bhaiyya 4 actually makin me think…!!

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