Recently I came across a great new word that has stuck with me.
The term is “BRULES” which is simply a combination of “bullshit” and “rules”. Simply put a “brule” is a bullshit rule that has no real value or meaning.
As people operating in a complex world we need to adopt a set of rules within which to function. If we were computers our operating rules would be comparable to our software. The problem is that most of us don’t upgrade our software, despite the massive life changes that we all face over time. As adustlst on the Far Side of Fifty many of us still use the same software we had when we were ten.
Often times a young child who has been told they are not smart will go through their whole lives believing in their stupidity. I have met extremely lovely people, as a result of comments made when they were young, believe they are ugly, unattractive and not worthy of affection. I have worked with young men who believed that because their fathers were alcoholic they would be too.
In most cases the bullshit rules that hold us back from true happiness and success are not our own. These rules have been passed along to us by circumstance as well as parents, teachers, religious and political leaders and, of course, the media. The rules that we have adopted are handed to us by people who are no smarter, more succesful or talented than we are.
Examples of these brules include: “you must get a degree to be successful.”
Who says so? There are tons of fabulously successful people who did not complete a degree. Bill Gates didn’t get a degree, neither did Sir Richard Branson.
Don’t get me wrong I am largely in favor of post-secondary education simply because it teaches you to work hard and stay focused, which are two essential elements for success.
I am less convinced of the true value behind the subjects that many institutions teach. For instance one University in my region teaches entrepreneurship. I just don’t see how a professor who is not running a business could possibly be equipped to teach such a course. If you want to learn how to run a successful business go work for a person who is running a successful business. Be wary of the professor who only knows theory.
Another brule is around fitness, “in order to be fit I have to run a marathon (or a half marathon)”.
The health industry is plagued with similar bullshit rules. “To look good I need to have below 10 percent body fat.” “To be strong I have to bench press my body weight.”
Health and wellbeing is so complex and people are so physically different that the same rules simply do not apply across the board. For instance I am naturally strong and have decent endurance so I can lift heavy things and run long distances. I am not particularly flexible nor fast. I will kick your ass in a long run but maybe not in a dash.
For a period of time I worked really, really heard at improving my flexibility as a result I began to experience joint pain and actually lost mobility in some areas.
The fitness rules that apply to you don’t necessarily apply to me. Given that my physical capabilities are different from yours, a good measurement for me may be a bad measurement for you.
Many other bullshit rules involve the world around us. “People from other cultures are bad”, “rich people are crooks” “politicians (or lawyers) are liars.”
While brules serve to help simplify our worlds they also often involve gross generalizations about the world that simply are not true.
Every culture produces good and bad people. Rich people are often very honest with extremely high levels of integrity, as are many politicians and lawyers. Of course we should judge every individual around us on their own merits, but who actually does that?
But we often reserve the most harmful bullshit rules for ourselves.
“I am not smart enough to become truly successful.” “I don’t have the willpower to lose the weight.” “People don’t like me.” “I am just no good with groups of people.” “Because I don’t have a great education I can’t be a tremendous success.” “I am overweight and therefore I am ugly.” “I am lazy,” “I am stupid.” “I am undisiplined.”
Each one of these negative thoughts are a brule that will do nothing but hold you back and cause you pain. They are of no value and as a result they need to be eliminated and replaced with a more helpful set of rules and guidelines.
So readers of Success on the Far Side of Fifty I invite you to look at the rules that you apply to your view of the world and begin to question them.
Think about the limiting beliefs that you have put in place around yourself and other people. Decide if those rules are accurate and helpful and if they are not helpful discard those rules and make up new rules for yourself.
In my next post I will provide you with some very powerful strategies that will help you over write your bad and negative rules with more positive and helpful ones.
As always thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment or sign up to receive Success on the Far side of Fifty in your inbox.