Rules: Are you a Follower or a Rebel?

By Christina Kim - May 07, 2015

They are everywhere.
From the instructions on the forms to fill to the road signs, the speed limit, the do’s and the don’ts in restaurants, offices, hospitals and everywhere we go.
There are rules for everything, everywhere and all the time.
We are always governed by rules.
Our lives are practically invaded, or rather, defined by the rules telling us what we can or cannot do and separating that realm of right and wrong clearly for us.

That is the reason for rules; they set the guidelines and definition to keep things in order while maintaining a system to govern the world and keeping it away from chaos.

Rules set the boundaries and the limits to ensure that people do not go beyond reasoning in their actions which could cause harm to other people at the same time, just for the sake of their satisfaction. There are moral litigations to each and every action, and rules are just there to enforce them, keeping that right versus wrong in check, all the time.

Rules are always going to be there, like it or not.

We have been raised with the notion of rules and boundaries in our mind, where they are the means of cultivating the moral values and nurturing the proper behavioral system from that tender age.
(A child who was first born to the world may be fearless or even limitless with their possibilities in mind for everything seems to be possible, until they are exposed to rules.)

We were injected with the concept of right and wrong, and that we are to always obey the rules to keep us on the right track. The rules are always there, for a reason, to prevent people from harm and also inflicting inconveniences to others.
 Of course, it is also to establish that systematic flow to fortify peace, harmony and stability all around the world.

Rules always come with their companion of penalties; that mode of punishment (or perhaps reward at times) for those who choose to go with/against the rules.
There will always be the challengers, of course, and rules do not actually/usually work without that tiny bit of threat to remind everyone of its existence.
The rules could be there, to just tell people what to or not to do and without the accompanying form of penalties or warning, it may just be that; a couple of word instructions.
What makes rules effective is the presence of the ensuing punishment, and the consequences when one does not follow the rules. It strengthens that meaning of rules; where people are often forced (involuntarily) to obey the rules. They do not have a choice.
Clearly defined rules followed by the what-if-you-do-not-obey-the-rules cement the importance of the rules and garner that attention warranted.
That is the way rules work.
You need to have the penalties; that dare in that threatening tone, “Don’t you dare break the rules, or else…” to reinstate its effect and voice to the public.

However, granted, there are still the rebels (there are always rebels anyway), who will still choose to ignore the rules screaming at them and choose to go against it despite being fully aware of the consequences.
They choose to bend the rules, they can see the rules but they choose to go against it.
Awareness is never the issue; rather, it is more of the mentality here, and the choice that one makes when it comes to rules.

Now the question comes; Are you a rebel, or are you an obedient follower, when it comes to rules?

Perhaps some would say with a definite and defiant YES while there are those who would subtly say No, and then there are also those who would even mumble, sometimes, depending on the situation.

It is not a judgment of right or wrong when it comes to this question.
It is not about whether one will be executed when one proclaims to be a non-follower or one will be anointed as a saint if one holds the flag up to be the obedient one; but rather, an exploration of one’s state of consciousness and ultimately, an individual’s call of choice.

To follow or not to follow, that is the question.

There is no 100% success rate in the adherence to rules, much as we would like it to happen and the very most we can do is to fine tune it to the closest possible rate of making everyone abide by the rules.
It seems like a simple task, but there is always that percentage of people, who just simply, do not abide.
It could be intentional, though there are also times when it may be unintentional.
Yes, it does happen. Sometimes people could overlook the rules, or perhaps just subconsciously choose to ignore minor rules which they know do not cause a major impact anyway.
Disobeying the rules does not make one a criminal or a rogue, though it could be a close call.

There are many times when we just consciously make that choice to deny that existence of the rules and just bypassed them to get things done.
It happens, sometimes.
Okay, maybe all the time.

Note that it is a conscious decision made, by choice.
We know and are fully aware that the rules are there, but we choose to break it.
We know the consequences, but yet we do it.
Why don’t we follow the rules?

I believe the answer all lies in the weight of the penalty itself.
The convenience of obeying the rules to one self, and the impact if one is caught determines that call.
Take for instance, if the penalty is translated to capital punishment such as imprisonment, a hefty fine, criminal record, or generally, public humiliation, the consciousness to abide the rules just simply takes precedence over convenience.
Often convenience comes in when it is about getting simple tasks done in the shortest time, to that one individual’s convenience (not others).
Think queue jumping, making that U-turn in the prohibited zone, or dropping off passengers/getting off in a restricted zone. Cutting close to the quarters seem harmless, and one could easily get off anytime because there may not be any law enforcers in place. It is a risk, but still a pretty light one to take.

One who follows the rules is often one who is lauded as the disciplined one, the righteous one or the good one. Are they?
(Okay, maybe those are too good words to describe them, and the rebels could simply just call them cowards or goody-two-shoes, in that tone of sarcasm and intended condescendence).
Rules followers are not necessarily the ones who do it with the best intentions in mind sometimes.
They may not even want to do it, and sometimes play that little game in the mind, teasing their own courage to take the risk or not.
Often, the rules follower have too strong of a conscience and that cemented projection of consciousness of right embedded in their minds. They are too systematic and rules are actually helping with their internal system which makes it easy for them to just follow.
They think that it is a choice, or simply, because they do not have a choice.
Their image of the right thing is often dominant in their thoughts and subsequently their actions.
There is no room at all for wrong to seep in.
They cannot accept anything out of the norm, and are often harsh judges of themselves.
Some are even simply afraid of the general perception and how they portray themselves to the public.
They are image perfectionists and they strive to upkeep their very own standing in the world.
It may not be wrong that they are afraid; in fact, they are very afraid to take even one wrong step, because they are just too concerned about being right.
Doing the right thing is in their blood and bending the rules are simply inconceivable.

Are they perfect beings, or just purely obedient 100% rules followers?
Maybe, and maybe not, though I can say for sure that when they break a rule, they could brood over it and face that internal battle of conscience.

There is no wrong or right; whether one follows the rules or not, although it is of course, right (technically and highly recommended) to follow the rules.

The rules are always there for a reason.
Rules bending are not recommended, or even accepted in any circumstance for a tiny little thing could lead to imbalance and chaos in the big system out there. It is a chain effect which many do not realize.
It is the little things that make the big difference.
It is never okay to break the rules, for the little rules could lead to the breaking of major rules in the future and sometimes this could be the making of the criminals.
Parents are always telling their children the right and the wrong, and that rules are to be followed.
We should always keep that in mind.
After all, how inconvenient can it be to just follow what the sign says or even in the direction the arrow is pointing?

Imagine a world without rules where everyone is free to do anything or everything, without consequences.
Is that the world we want to live in?
I shudder to think of that kind of world.

Rules are just like locks on the doors, fences guarding our houses, the lanes we drive on the road, and simply even the clothes we put on.
They are there to make us feel secure and confident that all is in order and that we are protected.
Whether we like it or not, there is a need for rules to exist and to maintain that balance in our lives and keeping peace and harmony in the equation.
Rules will be there, all the time and they are essential to keep us sane and well.

In case you are wondering, I am definitely a rule follower J
You can call me a coward, but I am for the rules, though I dare not say I am perfect.
Maybe there are times I have and do bend the rules too, but generally, I abide by the rules.
It comes with years of culture and yes, I am just too afraid of the consequences.
I believe in their need to keep things going and to keep everyone at bay.

It is not just about obeying the rules when there are people watching, but rather respecting that presence of the rules even when there is no one around.
When one starts to regard the sanctity of the rules or even understand the logical reason behind the rules, one will never neglect to follow the rules wherever they go; even if there is no one watching.
Following the rules are just as simple as ABC, it is about that consciousness and the awareness about the right thing to do and the need to follow the rules.

It is about that right, and about understanding the importance of the rules.
Driving into a one-way street just because there are no cars when you are fully aware that it is a one-way street just because it is a shorter distance to the shop you are heading to, is not a savvy decision but rather, a selfish decision, for you think you are saving time and fuel.
What if a motorcycle or a car comes all of a sudden?
(Maybe you could reverse all the way, if there are no cars, but what if there is traffic?)
Maybe you can get away with it and no one notices, and you think to yourself, it is just this time.
The next time comes and you noticed that the shop is actually right at that junction, and it is a one way street again. Is that going to be that “one-time” again?
You will never get the end of it, and there is always a reason for the saying that “once a rebel, always a rebel”.

It is logical really, getting away with something you know is forbidden sends that thrill of sensation down your spine in a simple psychological sense. The heart thumping and excitement, along with anxiety and fear when attempting to do something one is fully aware is wrong sends one on that guilt ride and one could be left wondering whether it was the right decision.
That instant battle of conscience takes place and the fear of being caught makes one apprehensive of the consequences. The few minutes send one on that roller coaster ride and the what-ifs are taking place interchangeably at the back of the mind.
Fast decisions are made on the spot, and one is even making up the possible scenarios of defenses should they be caught.
These are also the very same messages sent to the brains of criminals; as they decipher the concept of wrong and constant justification of their own actions in a way of defending themselves and leading themselves to believe that it is not fully wrong.
It is just one time.
It is just for the good.
It just saves time.

Once the task is accomplished and one gets away without being caught, the fear and anxiety evaporates and is quickly replaced by pride. That sense of achievement seeps in after the momentary relief that they were not caught and were even successful in their feat to challenge the rules.
This very success is then sent to the back of the mind as a piece of memory which could be revoked whenever they face that same situation or when there is a need to make that call between the right and wrong of the rules.
For some, the breaking of little rules soon channeled into their minds that they are potentially capable of extending their courage and capability to some other areas.

That was a depiction of a general scenario of what-ifs for those who are great challengers and often find themselves breaking the rules.
I am not saying that whenever we break the rules once in a blue moon, we are actually in the midst of transforming to criminals of greater heights.
Well, it could be, after all, who knows, but you?

Breaking the rules once may not really means once, and there are times when we find ourselves breaking the rules more than once.
Can you loudly declare that you have never ever broken a single rule ever before?
Did you really listen to your doctor to take that rest after your medication and do nothing at all?
Did you actually listen to your parents to avoid the television when you are supposed to be studying when they are not at home?
(Well, actually, I do, even when my parents are out of the house, I do not actually try to watch the television. Yes, I am such a little coward).

All I am saying is, we all break the little rules once in a while, but it is not good to make a habit out of them or keep them in practice.
There may be times when it is inevitable, though not really reasonably so, but breaking the rules is not something to be proud of and that should be the message to be sent to the younger generation.
Rules are made to be followed; not broken as the popular saying goes.

They are made with that intention to advise and are recommended for our well-being and of others around us, though not always enforced with maximum penalty.
No one can force us to follow the rules if one wants to break the rules at their own liberty because they enjoy paying the city council that extra sum of money they deem as pocket money, or if they would like to imagine the thrill of claustrophobia of how it is like living in the confined space of a cell maintained by the local authorities.

Ultimately, it all boils down to one thing; one’s CHOICE.

To follow or to rebel, that is a/the CHOICE you have to make.

You make the call.

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