Some people say I am a “goody goody,” then they get to know me! Overall, however, I usually follow the rules of the particular game I am playing, especially when I am playing the game of life. There are times to follow the rules and there are times when the rules can be bent, just a little, sometimes more, to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. I am not talking about bending or breaking major rules, but sometimes, we have to be willing to compromise with ourselves or others, to get the job done. For example, almost everyone will agree that it is not a good idea for someone to eat pancakes for breakfast, doughnuts for lunch, and ice cream for dinner (and nothing else all day), but when that someone is one’s 90+ year old mother, who has dementia and is prone to mean outbursts when told “No,” then it is a good idea to bend the rules regarding eating a balanced meal and let her eat what she would like to eat. All of us have times when we want to do something a little different than what we are supposed to do; it is up to each person to decide for himself/herself if bending a rule, just this once, will be more harmful than helpful. Rules are rules and there are usually good reasons behind the rules, but they should not be followed blindly, when the consequences for doing so are more negative than going outside them.
I would add that sometimes one has to remember the reason behind the rules and decide if they still apply and/or make sense in a given situation. In the workplace we often have rules to ensure uniformity in performance and to reinforce the ways to work toward a common objective. If you, like us, are in a position to write the rules, remembering why you put them into place is important and relatedly, updating and revising them periodically makes good business sense. In the rules of life, sometimes these are societal or cultural norms, and these too evolve. If you are merely a follower of the rules, an employee, for example, sticking to them and not challenging them is in your best interests. And, if you find you have a concern about some rule, find a time to speak to whatever/whoever “powers that be” about them. Sometimes you’ll find a response like, “well, we’ve always done it like that,” followed by either “so that is how it is, take it or leave it” or, perhaps “now that you mention it, we can clarify that further…” Your approach though, may drive the direction of the response.