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Break a stupid rule

Break a stupid rule

You’d be surprised at how little people actually cares about those rules. Break them and free yourself!

Maurice Lefebvre
Maurice Lefebvre

As good Pyrate, you have a high impact on your environment, but to achieve that, you need to rid yourself of value-less busywork and build yourself some confidence in your ability to change the rules that constrain you.

This first tip comes straight from Sam Conniff Allende, author of Be More Pirate: Pick a rule, one that annoys you and serves little to no purpose, and break it to see what happens.

Chances are that nothing will happen. A surprisingly large number of rules are the end results of half-thought bureaucratic shenanigans or outdated social norms. Very few people actually care for them.

Just breaking a rule and feeling giddy by being a little bit bad is fun and all, but if you want your action to have a real impact, you need to replace the void left by that broken rule by something else. Be constructive about your little act of rebellion.

The Pyrate guide for constructive rule-breaking

Follow the four principles of the Pyrate Way to help you through the process of causing some mischief:

1- Keep your eyes on the prize

Select the rule to break according to your own personal mission or the ongoing outcome you strive for. The rule should mean something to you: it can be an obstacle to your success, it can be something that goes against your principles, or it could just be one that annoyingly makes you waste time and effort.

2- Fortune favors the bold

Break the rule. Go ahead. You can do it.

Please note that you don’t have to be stupid about it, though. If you are new at professional rule-breaking, don’t light huge powder kegs. Don’t willingly antagonize someone who can fire you on the spot. Avoid breaking the law.

That being said, the size of the rule is irrelevant. It can be rather big or small, as long as it is significant to you. The more you’ll do this, the better you’ll get with dealing with the potential fallout, and you can become bolder.

3- Be impossible to ignore

Breaking rules in secrets will not really get you anywhere. Having the feeling of sticking it to the man is fun, but ultimately it is just a feeling. You want impact.

Breaking a rule leaves a void: if that rule is discarded, then what? Instead of just breaking the rule, propose something to replace it. Offer a solution that will empower people and help them propel forward rather than controlling them and holding them back. Remember that the best alternative solutions help all sides of the discussion move forward and improve the value they get. By keeping that in mind.

This will show, beginning with showing to yourself, that you can think of better ways to do things. It will turn you into a positive troublemaker, one that has something to say and unafraid to act. One that is impossible to ignore.

3- Forge your own legend

Your solution doesn’t need to be proposed to whoever was in charge of rule you broke. Not yet. You can be a fantastic positive troublemaker, but alone you probably don’t have enough clout yet to generate action. If a rule annoys you enough to break it, you are most certainly not alone in that opinion.

Find others. Let them know what you are doing. Show them your alternative. Enlist them to your cause. Help them become positive troublemakers too.

When you are enough to have weight, then it’s the right time to propose your alternative publicly. Four elements need to be present to get an easy “yes”:

  • Show that all parties stand to win with your proposal,
  • Have a clear proposal that can be used as-is,
  • Have the buy-in of enough people so that you have clout,
  • Without stressing the fact, make sure that whoever has to agree realizes what is at stake: a clear win they can benefit from, or risk a mutiny for a straight dismissal.

The key to successful negotiations is to smile, be open and reasonable, and carry a big cutlass (a metaphorical one, please).

Oh, and by the way, by following that guide there will be repercussions. You will show your hand as someone who can bring positive change. Your own clout will increase, as will your self-confidence.

That is it!

You are now equipped to cause some good trouble!

You will soon realize that it is quite simple to do, and the payoff can be significant. Along the way, you will build your own legend as someone who can get things done and find valuable solutions.

Did you get some success using this method? Then, by all means, share your accomplishments with the world in the comments below!