Why you should break the rules!

I’ve never been a fan of rules.

As a child I pushed the boundaries, the limits, and always broke the rules.

As I got older I continued to push the boundaries, I questioned, I challenged, and I got a lot of detentions.

Before I became an entrepreneur I was a painter, I was then an art historian, I then became a marketer and now I am all of these things.

The one thing that took me through all of these journeys was simple: I broke the rules.

When I was told to draw a bowl of apples, I copied a Picasso painting. When my client told me he couldn’t charge more for his services, I told him to triple his prices.

Rules are made to be broken. OK. I am not saying you should go out and break the law but playing with the boundaries can lead to interesting results.

Here are some interesting quotes from famous artists to inspire you and, hopefully, encourage you to break some rules today:

1. Protect your inner child.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up” – Pablo Picasso

As we grow up we begin to question, doubt ourselves, and question some more. Creativity becomes strangled and stifled. Ultimately we run the risk of being to scared to try new things.

Don’t be afraid to laugh and play around with things. Robert Dempsey recently came under attack for trying something new on his site.

It did not deter him. If you don’t try something how will you ever know if it worked?

2. Change your mind, again and again

“If you want clean ideas, change them as often as you change your shirts.” – Francis Picabia

Nothing is set in stone. Your ideas are ideas, you don’t have to stand by them forever. I’ve seen a few people recently take down certain bloggers because, shock horror, they are doing something differently to what they said last week or last year.

You own your ideas. Be OPEN to new ideas. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. No one here, even if they try to imply it, are the social media/business police. There are no rules governing how you should formulate your ideas. Don’t implement your own!

Old ideas get smelly, dull and worn. Yes, just like that shirt you are still wearing.

3. Be brave

“Creativity takes courage” – Henri Matisse

Being creative is scary. We doubt ourselves all the time. The minute we question ourselves we kill creativity dead. Being brave and having the courage to take that leap WILL make the world of difference.

Having the courage to write something controversial or to try a new pricing strategy could be exactly what you need to tap into a new creative direction.

Each artistic movement came about initially by rejecting the movement of the past. Turning things on their head or cutting things up to rearrange them in a haphazard fashion to create something new.

As entrepreneurs we often run the risk of looking into the past to find answers. Glance back but then look forward, paint it pink, add glitter, be brave and try something new.

Hindsight is 20/20 – you will only realise you’ve done something amazing when you have done it.

How do you channel your creativity? Do you break the rules?

17 Responses to Why you should break the rules!

  1. Great post Ameena. I was just watching my 13 yo daughter the other day and it occurred to me that I have lost the bravery I had when I was younger. So, my current goal is to become brave again–in all areas. Like you I always dared to break the rules, push the boundaries, but now I always think twice, I take a step back, I consider consequences… it’s getting boring, and I’m not growing! The person who worries about making a mistake doesn’t make anything.

  2. Damn straight!

    Seriously – who is to tell us our ideas are wrong or total crap? The people without ideas that are stuck where they are that’s who. People that allow the status quo to influence them, that are afraid of pushing the limits, and going against the grain.

    The people that don’t win.

    No one has every gotten truly far ahead by diving head first into the status quo, because you can’t win by doing that. Pushing the boundaries, stretching and breaking the rules – that’s how progress is made.

  3. Thanks Robert – yeah diving into the expected and chaining yourself to what “should be” or what is “expected” will probably leave you in that little rut!

    Here’s to breaking rules, experimenting, and making progress!

  4. I remember being in kindergarten and having a note sent home with one of my drawings. It was a mimeographed gingerbread man that we were supposed to color in. Green and purple looked pretty, so that is what I scribbled in wide arcs all over it. The note said my mom should tell me that gingerbread men should be brown, and the design was there to be filled in.

    I WAS 5!!!!!

    Obviously this made an impression on me because I remember it SOOOOO clearly 35 years later. From that I learned that there are set rules that we are supposed to follow in order to gain acceptance from those in authority. I focused on the lines and what was “right” from then on.

    • Thanks for sharing Tammy! Here is to painting gingerbread men PINK, leopard print … whatever we feel like!

      I have a similar story from when I was 13 and my parents were called into school because my English Lang homework was to write an essay on “The Person I Most Admire, and WHY” So I wrote about Barbie – perfect body, wardrobe, life, horses, Ken? I failed English that year even though the teacher admitted the argument was great, it was just the subject that was wrong. I was meant to pick a president.

      I HATE the word “should” or “supposed to be” (I know the last is 3 words!)

  5. I’m a huge fan of breaking the rules, but I’m not really that good at actually doing it. The biggest rule I have ever broken is probably when I asked for a leave without pay from work to write a novel. I thought about it for a long time, and it was really hard to do, but I managed to do it, and here I am. It feels so good 🙂

    This leave without pay was something I should have done a long time ago. It feels like I’ve broken a barrier in my life, and that I’m finally in control of what I’m doing and I have no idea where it will lead me, but it really doesn’t matter.

    Thanks a lot for the link 🙂

    • Feels good doesn’t it?

      I feel like you need corrupting Jens…. I’m good at that BTW … 🙂

      You mean you ALWAYS put your tray back at IKEA and you always put your trolley where it should be at the supermarket? You never cut in front of someone in a queue? EVER?

      • Sorry, but I don’t – ever 🙂

        I hope you won’t find me boring now that I confess 🙂

        Because I am not good at breaking the rules, it feels so good writing. In my novel I can be whatever I want.

        • Oh my! I don’t know if we can be friends anymore! 🙂

          Seriously? Am I just really bad or are you just really good?

          Glad your novel is your escape.

          Please, one day, will you publish your blog with the text in pink – just for me? Please?

  6. Yes! I so relate, Ameena! =) It’s only when we break the rules that we can think and see in a different way. I especially appreciate your first point about protecting our inner child. To me, that relates to trusting and acting on our intuition more too. I have always learned the most when I followed my curiosity!

    It reminds me of all the travels I’ve done. Truthfully, I’ve never really been one to be interesting in sightseeing or seeing the world, but my instinct took me to Japan and now here to Peru where my eyes have been opened. Being able to interact with so many different kinds of people and experience very different ways of being is the essence of creativity for me.

    Thanks for this beautiful post, friend! =)

    • Hey Samantha! Thanks so much for sharing! It’s always invigorating to hear other people’s stories about breaking the rules 🙂

      I am sure you have a lot of people who think you are mad for globetrotting!

  7. I’m noticing the restraint of rules breaking off of me with every sentence I read!

    I feel like a bird in a cage, and someone just opened the door, and I’m sitting there staring at it wondering if I should fly or not!

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