Some rules are based on opinion. Learn to break them

Some rules are based on opinion. Learn to break them

I have to come clean. I woke up at 7:06am this morning. I did not stick to my 4:00am plan. Shock and horror!

I only got home at 10:00pm last night and I decided that I would allow myself to get up late, on the last day of my working year. And what a great feeling it was to break out of the mold. You should try it.

There’s a saying: “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” As you know I am passionate about rules and regulations and I believe its the only way we can live well together as a human race. There is no way we can rely on the moral fabric of every human being to guide them all to do the right thing all of the time.

A couple of years ago while studying for my MBA I attended a class on business ethics. It was a very interesting couple of sessions and we were learning what right and wrong means in business and what it is based on.

The shocking conclusion was that all people have different ideas about what is right and wrong and right and wrong in the absence of a higher governing being, is an opinion. And the business world is mostly governed by opinion. Think about the implication of this. All of us can decide what is right and wrong in the moment based on what we believe. It’s all up to our opinion.

No wonder our world looks the way it does. There is however something that everyone agrees on (no matter what you base your beliefs on) and that’s called the golden rule. It states: “do unto others as you want done to yourself”. It’s a Christian construct and I believe, the only foundation we can use for deciding on rules. (If you’re not a believer I’ll leave you to rethink the existence of a higher being based on how flaky ethics are without a higher being)

But, back to breaking them. There is a lot to be said to learn to masterfully break some of the rules. In business, many times, we come across societal (and internal) rules that stop us from moving forward. This happens when our passion for rules surpass our passion for progress. And it is in these instances that entrepreneurs have a cunning ability to find a great way to work around the rules (while still adhering to the golden rule) to create an innovation.

This is why entrepreneurs seem to always find the one idea that no one else thought of. Its the secret they all carry. Entrepreneurs are able to stick to the rules but they interrogate every rule they come across and if they find any inkling of evidence that the rule hampers progress, they find a way around it.

Waking up late is hardly an earth-shattering innovation in my business (although, if I look at some of our employee late arrival reports, it looks to be the next business breakthrough!), but this morning it was a reminder to me that sometimes you have to break the rules to find the supernatural.

Rules are the best we can do to live a semi civil life, but they’re not perfect and I believe entrepreneurs are there to find the imperfections and resolve them. And there you have it, entrepreneurs have a higher calling than just making money and providing employment.

We are here to interrogate the rules and find ways to force progress in a world that resists advancement for no good reason.

Go look at some of the unwritten and written rules you and others have made up in business. Which of those are hampering your progress?

Find one and break it today!

P.S. Don’t make a habit of getting up late, it will kill your business.

Off to break some more rules…


By the way …

One of my companies is called Ouch! Technologies and we specialise in the implementation of time and attendance products for privately owned businesses.

We are on a mission to help private businesses erase absenteeism and a lack of punctuality. It’s killing our businesses and it needs to stop. Go have a look at how we can save you money at

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