Playing by the Rules

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Pablo Picasso

“Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule. Nevertheless one had better know the rules, for they sometimes guide in doubtful cases, though not often.”


Do you have to play by the rules in order to play by your own rules?


Sometimes rules are there for a reason. If you are a Surgeon, washing your hands before surgery to prevent infection is a good rule to have. So is washing your hands if your a chef / cook too.

Not using your phone during a movie premiere is a great rule. No, dear sir, I do not want to watch you scroll on your twitter feed at full eye-melting brightness while I’m trying to watch a new movie. Good day sir. (I said good day.)

Some rules keep us from harms way and become guardrails from stupid decisions. They usually suck when they get in the way of something we want, but they are usually (not always, but usually) there from a reason. Credit, for example. Bad credit will prevent you from buying a new car, which blows when you want a new car, but might be good if you honestly can’t afford a car payment, but are trying to fool yourself into believing you can.

There’s also rules of thumb that hid nuggets of a meaningful life if we take the time to parse out the action steps hidden beneath their overused, fluffy cookie shell.

‘Treat others as you would want to be treated.’

‘Well done is better than well said.’

‘Don’t bite off more than you can chew.’

Pretty much any Benjamin Franklin quote.

Rules keep us safe, but they can also sometimes hold us back. Sometimes it’s good to play the rules to learn what rules are worth keeping and what rules are worth bending and breaking when needed. Some rules are just too dumb not to break. These are the ‘do first, apologize later’ kind-of-rules.

The best rules are the ones that we create for ourselves. The ones that increase our happiness, fulfillment, creativity, meaning, belonging and wellbeing in life. These are mostly found through trial and error (lots and lots of errors), but we can also pick up life rules from people we respect and admire.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #755

Join the Renaissance:


If you enjoyed this blog post, consider becoming a patron.

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Leave a Reply