It’s time to stop asking for permission to live our lives, and it’s time to stop following someone else’s set of rules.

Independence, “The Rules,” and Asking for Permission

As Independence Day approaches, Chris Guillebeau asked his Twitter followers “What does independence mean to you?”

For some people, independence means having enough money to quit their job to travel around the world, while for others it’s about having a reliable source of income and a couple weeks of vacation each year. By definition, independence is “freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.”

Independence, for me, means not having to ask for permission to live my life. It’s not always easy.

The vast majority of people (myself included) are required to operate within a certain framework of rules on a daily basis. At work, there are procedures that must be followed and policies to guide our decisions. “The Rules” exist to create an environment of equality, to dictate a standard for quality, and to maintain a certain level of productivity. The Rules serve a purpose.

But the problem with rules is that they’re rules. And because “rules are rules,” the people “in charge” aren’t able to consider the needs of employees on an individual basis. A common refrain from management is “If I make an exception for you, I’d have to make an exception for everyone.” This argument is a logical fallacy (known as the Slippery Slope), but it’s often reason enough to have our needs brushed aside and ignored. Our lives are at the mercy of The Rules.

 If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.

We’ve grown accustomed to being told what to do. For years we’ve let other people dictate our lives. We’ve been taught to follow The Rules and ask for permission. We’ve had to cancel plans to work late, missed events because we had deadlines to meet, and our entire lives are scheduled around our work schedules.

What a bunch of shit!

It’s time to stop asking for permission to live our lives, and it’s time to stop following someone else’s set of rules. It’s time we stop letting our lives be influenced by imaginary obstacles…obstacles which are little more than lame excuses we use to convince ourselves that we can’t have the life we want and are the reason we believe we have to play by the rules: money, time, security.

Here’s the truth:

You’re only limited by your own choices, and the only rules you have to follow are the ones you want to follow. You’re the only person whose permission you need to ask for. You’ve created this life, and only you have the power to change it. If you’re sick of playing by someone else’s rules, it’s time to stand up for yourself.

Demand change.

At work. From your boss. From yourself. At home. From your spouse. From your children.

It’s your life! Stop asking other people for permission to live it!

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3 thoughts on “Independence, “The Rules,” and Asking for Permission

  1. This fits in well with the theme of my “Someone Pissed in My Cheerios” article. :) Cheers to going against the grain!

  2. Great post. It’s true that we’ve grown accustomed to being told what to do. We follow the straight and narrow path because of what others (parents, friends, family, etc.) will say. This did go nicely with my Wednesday Word – Independence. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the great work.

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