Rule Followers and Rule Breakers

Maybe there are more than 2 types of people in the world… (DUH)… but for today’s conversation, let’s just break them down to 2.

Rule Followers (RFs)

Rule Breakers (RBs)

Now let’s add a little twist and give those 2 sub-types.

Enlightened Rule Followers (ERFs)

Enlightened Rule Breakers (ERBs)

I’d be the Rule Breaker type. So I’ll just put that out there right up front. There was a day when I lived a RB kind of life, but I’ve now graduated to the enlightened group. Let me explain.

There are such vast differences in perception between RBs and RFs that often they can’t get along with each other at all.

The down side of the rule breaker category, I must admit, is living outside the law, and that is not good. But the upside RBs are the innovators, the creative sorts, often entrepreneurs that just dare the world to tell them something is impossible so they can go out and make it happen.

Those at the low end of the RF category are pointing fingers at those who break out of the norm and sometimes push the envelope to the limit.

So, there can be a lot of judgment going back and forth between the 2 groups even though it is these very differences that make the world go around.

The enlightened ones on both side have a lot going for them. Having dropped their judgments about people who think entirely different from them, they are now open to enjoy and revel in the unique and special talents of the opposite group.

One of my best friends is the ultimate Rule Follower. She follows the rules, TO THE LETTER no matter what. Don’t try to get her to fudge on anything. She doesn’t go even one mile over the speed limit, always uses her blinkers, gets off the phone when there is lightning, etc. You get the picture.

Me being a rule breaker, I ignore all of those at times. And some of them ALL THE TIME. Speed limit? What’s that?

So, how can we be the best of friends?

It is the word ‘enlightened’ that makes the difference.

When I suggest that she do something that might be a slight infraction of ‘the rules’, she starts to explain why she can’t. And… even as she starts, I say, “Oh yea, you’re a rule follower.” And then we both laugh.

You can’t make a person go against their basic nature and, we should all give up on trying. We’d be a lot happier.

When I tell her my hair-brained ideas, or wend a wild tale about something that seems too far out to be possible, she just cheers me on.

Breaking the rules seems as impossible to her and keeping them is for me, but we take joy in the differences and use them for comic relief.

Secretly… I think there is a hidden rule breaker somewhere inside her… that lives vicariously thru me.



the “Common Core” Generation

untitledRecently I was asking Dakota, a 4th grader, how she was doing in school. As it turns out, her grades were straight ‘A’ except for math. In math she got a ‘D’.

Cody, Dakota’s dad, overheard our conversation and immediately voiced his contempt for ‘Common Core Math’. He said there was no way he could even help her with the homework as he could not figure out why 2 + 2


couldn’t just equal 4 like it used to. (I know this is a stretch, but bare with me for a minute.)

I commiserated with him, being as confused by the whole thing as he was.

A few days later I was talking with my Tabitha, my Goddaughter who is a middle school math teacher. She is teaching “Common Core”. What an enlightening conversation!

Tabitha explained that kids grow up today with computers, debit cards, etc. they do not even experience the same things we grew up with. For instance, they have no reason to learn how to count back change. Actually, people are even getting away from using real money in their transactions. Many things are handled automatically that used to be ways for learning basic math skills in real life.

Therefore, kids in this new age do not develop the natural deductive ability to discern whether or not the mathematical answers they get make any sense. If they use a calculator to add up 285 + 300 and they push a wrong button, the answer may come up 3,285. They have not developed any skill for being able to immediately see that it cannot possibly be the right answer. The world they live in did not teach them that logic.

“Common Core” is geared to teach in such a way that the kids learn to estimate. Through that method they learn the logic we acquired naturally by simply growing up in a different time…. In a different world.

For many of us, it is almost impossible to fathom that things could be so different than when we grew up, but actually they are.

Some 3 year olds know more about operating a smart phone than I do. I was in my 40s before cell phones even existed.

By the time they get their first account, they will graduate to a debit card and the bank will do all their calculations for them. They will not look into their billfold to see how much money they can spend. They will go online and the bank records will tell them.

“Common Core” is a way of teaching what many of us think of as ‘common sense’.


The Ultimate Turn-off

flipOur world is so full of diversions that we are essentially tuned in and turned on all the time.

Even though we’re not supposed to be texting or talking on the phone while driving, we’ve always got our Garmins to keep us connected.

All our kids have smart phones, laptops and televisions in their rooms. Let’s not forget video games.

We are a turned on society every waking hour of the day.

textIf we get up in the middle of the night we even check our texts.

But it is actually the ‘Ultimate Turn-off that would be the biggest ‘Turn- on’ if you would give it a chance.

You know why?

God talks to us in the space between our thoughts. But when you keep your space so occupied with external things, your internal life is what suffers.

Silence for many is a scary thing and so we keep our minds rushing from one thing to another not realizing that what we are missing is the peace and contentment of our spiritual connection.

Communion with God will be challenging until you learn to quiet the negative self-talk running rampant in your head.

If you can’t hear guidance until your head is quiet and…. you feel like you can’t get quiet without some guidance….. it can feel like a catch 22.

Replacing your ‘head noise’ with a positive thought is a great first step. Find an affirmation that feels good to you. Anytime you notice negative thoughts, calmly repeat your affirmation. Repeat it several times if necessary.

It’s all worth the effort. Soon you will be listening to the sound of peace.

Paint Your Masterpiece


Right before you were born, God placed in your right hand a brand new artist’s canvas, rolled up like a scroll. And in your left, a handful of bright colored paints.


He hugged you tight and kissed you on the forehead. “Go into the world my child and make of your life a beautiful masterpiece.”

Shocked at the sight of a newborn armed with such sophisticated materials, the doctor pried your little fingers from the gifts you were born with to your screams of protest.

“A baby cannot possibly have the skills to paint on canvas with oils.”

Soon they were replaced with a page marked with soft blue lines, each with a number in it and crayons labeled with matching numbers. As they tucked these in your crib, you were assured, “Life was about staying in the lines and painting by the numbers. If you do that everything will work out fine.”

And that is a lie!

Author unknown

Who Will You Be Today, Your Authentic Self or …?


Think about all the personalities we employ as we go about the days and years of our lives.

For most of us there is the daughter, the employee, the mom and the wife. Or the husband, father, employer, brother, etc.

There are also more complex versions of all of us that we employ based on the circumstance and our frame of mind at the time.

Some show us who we want to be more of and others give us a view into our… well… let’s call it our “self improvement needed” side.

I’ve recently had an extended encounter with my ‘Over Accommodating’ persona.

Those who hire ,e can get a very good idea of the subject matter of my talks by first reading The Baglady’s Guide to Elegant Living or taking my on-line courses.

A running theme throughout my work is that of figuring out who you really are and living from that place.

As I prepared to work with a new group, it was requested that I put in writing what I would say. Trying to be accommodating, I did that.

They had other requirements of what I needed to include and so I added and rearranged. We were working back and forth for quite some time, and I was beginning to be concerned that in order to meet the restrictions I would either have to memorize or read my talk.

That is certainly different than my normal presentation method, but I wanted to be cooperative.

As restrictions became overwhelming, I started dragging my feet. It affected all my productivity and enthusiasm. Not on just that presentation, but on my work in general.

Something just didn’t feel right and I found myself doing everything I could think of to avoid my work.

I finally realized what had gone wrong. I’d lost my way, forgotten who I was.

The ‘Over Accommodating’ personality had descended upon me like a thief in the night.

A round peg doesn’t fit into a square hole, but we can sure wear ourselves out trying.

All it took was remembering my true self and recognizing that I was out of alignment. Once able to see the problem, I got back on the right track. Immediately things changed.

Enthusiasm returned.