Friday, December 1, 2023


The dilemma between doing what it feels right and following the rules is one of the common dilemmas one might face. One of the things we human beings differ from other living things in this world is in the incomparable sets of rules and regulations we are subjected to.

Rules and regulations may be spoken or unspoken, written or unwritten, but there are rules, restrictions, and boundaries within which a “decent” human being is allowed to live in. I wonder what would happen if human beings were left to behave on our whims. We probably would cease to exist once and for all, or only the tough will be able to survive in this world. So we need them, we need rules.

Here in Ethiopia, there is no shortage of rules. In fact, sometimes these rules are restricting us from achieving our greatest potentials. Forget the official rules. There are rules about how and what a person should dress, eat, speak, and even on what and how one should think. It can be debilitating at times.

Despite their existence and rigid nature, people still break rules. They break them because the cost of not breaking them sometimes outweighs that of breaking them. Some people are more inclined to stick to rules while some are more inclined to break them. I would classify myself as a person who likes to follow rules not because I ‘like’ following rules but rather this deep-rooted fear of the reprimands or consequences it might bring from not following the rules.

Many of us are paralyzed by the belief that things should be done in a certain way. Take the case of a workplace for instance. One unspoken rule is that the boss is always right. So, if the boss says something should be done this way, and should be delivered at so and so time, his words become the rule. No one dares deviate from that. Although we know deep down that there are alternative ways certain things can be done, which might bring better results, challenging the boss is unthinkable.

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We might make small attempts at convincing the boss, with all the care taken not to offend him in the process, but we rarely go to our maximum limits in challenging him or her. Why?

Well, it always comes down to the way we were raised. Challenging the rules was never something we were encouraged to do. The rule setters are unforgiving of those who dare to derail from them, and the ones ruled do not dare break them.

Rules can be paralyzing, limiting our creativity and our problem solving skills. Too much rules puts a strain on the quality of work a person can deliver because they are focused on whether it is done by respecting the rules and not on bringing the optimal and desired results. They restrict us from reaching our best maximum level and prevent us from adapting to changing life situations, so when unfortunate situations happen, we lack the flexibility needed to adapt.

High rise buildings constructed in some countries needed a flexible structure that allows it to resist and cope with natural phenomena’s such as earthquake and strong winds.

Being flexible does not mean compromised!

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