I’ll get this confession off my chest right now.
I…*cough cough*…follow rules.
I don’t mean some of the time, or most of the time, but practically ALL of the time, I observe instructions and adhere to the guidelines set out for me.
Real life example: I posted a just-for-fun quiz listing a bunch of things I might have done at a writer’s conference and asked which did Elise not do? Almost all my friends pounced on the fictitious item that described me flirting my way past a “no entry” sign to an off-limits author lounge. They just knew it wasn’t something I’d do, because it meant breaking rules.
Sometimes being predictable like that makes me feel boring.
I suspect that the U.S.A. gained a cultural identity rooted in questioning authority somewhere around the American Revolution. There’s still huge popularity for rebellion, sometimes at any cost. Don’t get me wrong, I do I think there’s a time and a place for it.
However, there are plenty of folks out there who will naturally assume that rule-followers are *I pause while I steel myself for this* complacent, passive, and of lesser intelligence.
My response is a polite, “Screw all y’all” (If such a thing might ever be deemed polite) and the following explanation:
I follow rules because I believe in initially respecting authority.
If I’m given evidence to the contrary (such as facts suggesting this authority should not be followed or respected), I assess it. I believe in giving people a shot before assuming that I have the better solution.
I learned years ago that the only way to approach something and really learn it is to accept that you’re a beginner with lots of room to grow. If you think you “know” it and grasp the entire concept in the first explanation, chances are you’re missing out on the depth. Even worse: Deciding you’ll just figure it out your own way (unless you really do prefer the method that takes five to one hundred times longer).
Intelligence does not imply opposition to the status quo. If you questioned everything, there would be no such thing as the wisdom of the elders who have gone before us, and I strongly believe in wisdom from gurus. Without the gurus in my life, I’d personally be floundering and doubting myself like nobody’s business. Honestly, wouldn’t we all?
I’m a rule-follower and I love it.
Rules create an orderly worldview, and I’ll readily admit that I don’t need more chaos in my life, thank you very much.
Someone told me that this shows my faith in the natural order of things. Perhaps it does.
What about you? Do you gravitate toward rules, or away from them? Why do you think this is?