Rules Are Ruining Your Life

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WARNING: Don’t let your kids read this until they’re no longer living in your house.

Rules are helpful.  They put order in our lives.  They reduce risk and minimize variance. “I’m sorry, I can’t give you a free room, the rules don’t allow it.”  In fact, I will enact rules to suit me and you likely do the same.  At trade shows and conferences, I hate carrying the terrible and bulky marketing materials that the drones distribute.  To ensure that I don’t have to bother, I carry an impossibly small bag that fits a few choice items and say “I’m sorry, I’m unable to carry anything larger than what can fit in this bag.”  “Oh, of course, sir. Absolutely.”  Rules can be established willy-nilly.  Our society has built us to believe that if a rule exists, there must have been a far smarter person who developed the rule for a greater good.  Although this may be true at times, I suggest that some many of these rules are ruining your life… well, at least your day, and that many of the people that developed many of the stupid rules ranged between myopic and mouth breathing fools.

Today is the day you can break free from these chains.  Do you want three breakfast coupons during your stay, but your room doesn’t include them?  Ask for them. And be specific about the exact number you want!  Do you need to get an exception to a minimum seating rule because your group has no budget and can’t pay out of pocket?  Ask specifically for an exception.  I constantly hear, “but the rules RIGHT THERE say you CAN’T do that!”  I don’t care.  At the end of the day, I’m going to ask for what I want and need, then let the person receiving my request make a judgment call on whether my personalized request will be granted. But what happens if they say “no?”  *GASP* You now have two choices.  Option #1 – Say “thank you” and carry on.  Option #2 – When a “no” is unacceptable, do what the kids do…ask dad.  Or in this case, just ask someone else who has the authority to give you the answer you want and need.
It’s a new year, go ask for an exception this week and remember that it doesn’t always work.  As I like to say: You win some, you win some later.
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik

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4 Responses to Rules Are Ruining Your Life

  1. Marc Flores February 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    How appropriate, Nan! Just this morning, I was running really late heading to the airport. Naturally, I picked up my boarding pass just as my flight was boarding, and the security line was nearly an hour long! I asked the airline agents if they could do anything for me because I didn’t want to miss my flight. They escorted me right through the line and straight to x-ray! As a matter of fact, the lady at the stanchion almost didn’t let me go through.

    “No! You have go around and go back in line!”

    “But my flight is boarding at 6 a.m.!”

    She looked at her watch and let me right through. (The airline agent had left at that point.)

    So much for airport rules. I cut right through everyone else and made it just as they were doing last call for boarding. Whew!

  2. Nan Palmero February 13, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    Isn’t it amazing how those things in life that are absolutely unchangeable can be changed with an ask? Good for you, Marc, for making it happen and for sharing your story!

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