7 Stupid Life Rules You Should Stop Paying Attention To

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I hate conformity.

I’ll be honest with you here. People think I’m a little weird. Not weird enough to alert the cops, but the kind of weird that might leave someone scratching their head in bemusement when you say something that flies in the face of conventional ‘wisdom’.

I get it all the time.  The day I quit my job to teach guitar was one such occasion. Everyone I spoke to kindly informed me that I was stark raving bonkers and should wait a while before deciding to do something as ridiculous as giving up a life I hated for something I loved.

Of course, what a fool I am!

There isn’t a one size fits all approach to life. If 51% believe something to be correct, does that mean the remaining 49% should blindly follow their lead? What if that ratio was a little closer to 95% and 5%? That’s pretty edgy, man.

How about 99% and 1%? Woah…

That’s what I’m dealing with here. I want to be in that 1% – living life on my own terms without being condemned for being a little strange.

Well, I am a bit strange. It’s why I’m wearing Santa socks 49 weeks before Christmas!

It’s easy to migrate to the 1%. If you flee the herd and push the boundaries of what you deem to be acceptable based on your own values, you’ve succeeded.

Therefore, the following conventional pieces of ‘wisdom’ are completely alien to me now…

1. You must get a safe career and work towards your retirement

Retirement sucks. Think about it, you spend your whole life dreaming of the day when you can finally stick it to your boss and embrace the endless possibilities of what a whole day with fuck all to do will undoubtedly bring, when you look in the mirror and realise that your trouser belt is around your nipples and you have a face like Mother Theresa’s arse…

Shit, what happened?

I’ll tell you what happened.

You were sold the greatest con in history. You spent years believing that the aim in life was to find a safe job that paid just enough to give you a nice roof over your head and kept you out of trouble long enough so that you could one day jack it all in, sit back, and enjoy your retirement with a nice cold beer.

No.

Why would any sane individual give up the best years of their life in exchange for the virtual prison sentence that is their career?

I say, worry about old age when it arrives. Enjoy your youth. Spend your 20’s and 30’s doing all of the cool stuff that you’ll be too frail to accomplish in your final years; such as sowing your wild oats, travelling to exotic destinations and making a million and one mistakes completely guilt free.

Retirement doesn’t exist. You work for 40 years and eventually, when they finally kick you out for being a smelly old bastard, you’ll discover that all you have to look forward to is another 20 years of regret.

You don’t want that.

2. You should settle down with marriage, kids and a mortgage as soon as possible

Speaking of virtual prison sentences…

Uh oh – ‘cynic’ alert cometh.

Hmmm, where shall I start with this one? You see, it’s not just our retirement plan that is shoved down our throats on a daily basis as young whippersnappers. Oh no, we’re also fed the lies that unless we find ourselves with a ring on our finger, a bun in the oven and the mother of all loans by the age of (insert culturally arbitrary relevant figure here) then somehow we are failing at life and we should all go and sit in the nerd corner with Norman and his cyber buddies.

It’s a pile of crap, seriously.

It’s all well and good if you genuinely find someone who is decent enough to put up with your ‘quirks’ without feeling the need to punch you in the face at least once a week. That’s great, it really is, and for that I commend you on your good fortune.

In reality though, most people end up in situations that destroy their natural zest for life.

Shh, they won’t tell you this, oh no. But they know it, and you know it, and they know you know it and you know they know you know it too.

We all fricking know it.

Simply, don’t feel forced to enter a relationship, or worse, a marriage unless your heart is truly in it. I would rather be single and happy than committed in the asylum to a relationship that was going absolutely nowhere.

Divorces can be expensive. Children crap everywhere. Houses you own (but don’t really) are a nightmare to get rid of.

The loved up life is a truly great thing, but don’t chase something that may not even exist. Unless you’re deeply religious, then you’re probably used to it and married with seven kids anyway.

God loves a trier.

3. Play hard to get if you want to get laid

For years we have been spoon fed Hollywood’s naïve and useless advice that in order to get the girl (or guy) we have to relentlessly pursue them with overly romantic gestures and passive aggressive neediness.

It makes sense on the face of it. Romantic comedies are designed for women, and women like a happy ending.

Stop sniggering at the back.

It filters down into all facets of society and as a result, we’ve been raised to blindly follow dating methods that are at worst, wildly out of date. So what happened? Neil Strauss happened.

You know, the author of ‘The Game’ – the bible to virgins the world over and the book that took the idea of using tactics and rehearsed lines to pick up women into the mainstream.

I bought it. So did millions of others. It kinda worked. But the problem is that a new generation of guys now believe that in order to bag themselves a woman, they must behave like imbeciles.

What’s wrong with achieving a healthy balance? I don’t need lines or stupid gestures to get a woman. I don’t need to send countless text messages and pelt their bedroom window with stones in the hope of luring them out into the open. Nor do I feel the need to dress up like Liberace and wear an eye patch just to stand out from the crowd.

It’s never the act itself that succeeds in dating. It’s the intention behind it. Needy is needy – regardless of how it is served up. Are you playing hard to get? That’s needy. Are you texting someone every day? That’s needy.

It’s unattractive and you will drive people away, stop it.

I refuse to play games these days and I also refuse to serve up my balls on a platter. I’m just honest, open and vulnerable at all times. It doesn’t ‘work’ because it’s not a game or a tactic. I’ve learnt how to be ‘me’ and people will either say yes or they will say no.

Find someone you like and go for it.

4. You must learn to drive otherwise society will hate you

I’ve never owned a car in my life and as ridiculous as this may sound, I’ve never sat behind the wheel of one of these hulking chunks of death either.

I simply have no interest in ever doing so. I’m in good company too.

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Tutankhamen and Christopher Columbus were all non-drivers and look how they turned out…

I just don’t see the appeal. Occasionally, I admit to being slightly envious of the lazy when caught in a sudden downpour, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

People usually ask me such enlightening questions as ‘but where is your freedom?’ or ‘what if you want to go somewhere?’

Hey, doofus: I can go anywhere I want, whenever I want and I can get blind drunk whilst doing it. Hell, if public transport decides to have a day off I can always use my legs or hitch hike my way into a serial killing one way trip to terror.

See? Cars = dangerous.

I’ve had friends who have lost their lives as a result of a traffic accident and I’ve seen far too many cordoned off crash sites to ever think to myself ‘yes I want me some of that shit’. If I lived in central London or Manhattan then I would probably be seen as the epitome of sanity itself but alas, I don’t.

Saying that, I can’t be arsed to go to the gym later, does anyone fancy giving me a lift?

5. Money should be saved or put away

We humans have a somewhat unhealthy relationship with money. We spend our entire lives in pursuit of a bigger bank balance but we struggle to realise how elusive this goal will remain. We become desensitised. We want more. Greed takes over and we base our own perceived self-worth on how deep our pockets stretch compared to everyone around us.

It is after all, the only thing that differentiates the rambling lunatic on the bus from a kick ass Bond villain.

So why are we terrified of spending it?

This scarcity mentality is boring and a sign of weakness. As I’ve said before, we work to live, not the other way around. Money doesn’t exist anyway. It’s just information stored on a computer. There’s a cool agreement that each of us have with our banks – it’s a secret, so come closer and I’ll reveal all…

If you ask nicely, they’ll give you a piece of plastic that you can use to purchase cool stuff. All you have to do is type in a few numbers and you suddenly stop being boring. It’s as easy as that.

Yes, saving money is the grown up thing to do if you want something that is currently too expensive.

But saving for no reason?  Where is the fun in that?

If I want something, I don’t hesitate. If I overspend than I don’t worry because I know that I will earn more money to replace it.

I’m not rich. I consider myself pretty poor actually but that doesn’t make a difference.

Money isn’t gold. (Unless it actually IS gold, in which case you probably are a Bond villain) So don’t treat it like it’s about to suddenly vanish from existence. In the future, when time replaces money as our source of income, it will be the same for everyone so chill out and treat yourself to something wonderful before the world implodes and you lose everything.

Bloody bankers!

6. You should always finish your meals

We’ve all been there. Sat at the dinner table, knife and fork in hand, staring at the 3 potatoes left on our plate with a look of utmost disgust and horror – Trying to figure out exactly in which dark corner of our distended stomachs we will send this starch filled monstrosity.

The pressure is unbearable. Years before Adam Richman turned food masochism into an art form, we were at the mercy of our sadist parents and their bellowing cries.

‘You will NOT leave the table until you have finished your meal’.

Waaaa – there is only one possible way I can clear this plate without embarrassing myself in front of the dog, yet with those beady mothering eyes watching me… the plant pot will have to wait until tomorrow for its thrice weekly fix of roast hell.

Little wonder we grow up with asses to give the Kardashians an inferiority complex. In my opinion, we should be striving to enjoy our meals and finish when we goddamn feel like it – not when some over bearing parent arbitrarily decides to rule with an iron fist and the logic of a North Korean dictator.

Eat until you’re fully satisfied that your hunger cravings have diminished and get on with the rest of the day safe in the knowledge that you’ll never scare anyone whilst bending over in public.

7. Don’t talk to strangers

Unless you’re a 6 year old girl or enjoy stumbling through downtown Detroit at 3 in the morning, you should be striving to break this rule as often as possible. I can guarantee that everyone reading this could do with a stranger in their world.

Yet we’re all too afraid. Years of being told that terrible things will happen to us if we take it upon ourselves to piss off someone we don’t know. Millions of men the world over will rather stare into an empty pint glass than walk over to a beautiful woman and strike up a meaningful conversation.

When we do speak to someone whom we have never met before, the first words that come to mind are usually those of an apologetic nature.

‘I’m terribly sorry to disturb you madam, but you do have splendid legs, could I possibly trouble you for the time please?’

Cos that’s just how we roll in England.

I’m truly excited by the prospect of meeting someone new and awesome. Soon I will hang out with a new best friend and I can’t wait to see what crazy times we will have. I will kiss a woman that will change my life and have a late night football debate with a random drunk dude in a pub.

All of this excites me.

There are billions of weird and wonderful individuals out there; you’d be surprised at how many of them would love to meet you.

Make it happen.

 

Which of life’s rules do you feel like breaking today?

Are you a conformist or do you enjoy swimming against the tide?

Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this article, please share it via Facebook, Twitter and spread the word.

About Jamie

Jamie is a guitar teacher and writer who hates the typical 9-5 existence. After quitting his job to enter the world of guitar tuition, he created this blog to document his thoughts and struggles as he takes on societies norms armed with nothing more than his cheeky wit and undeniable charm - Give his Facebook page a like, add him on Twitter or follow his Google+ page and he will repay you with even more awesome words!

Comments

  1. Thank you Jamie! Just what I needed to hear. I’ve been swimming against the tide all of my life. However things have not been easy recently and I’ve been doubting myself and the life choices I’ve made, a severe case of “the grass is greener on the other side”. You have reminded me exactly why I have chosen the path that I’m on and I thank you for that.

    • Hey Megan, it’s a tough choice to finally start going against what the rest of society believes to be correct, with many doubts and insecurities along the way. It’s natural to have these doubts though – just think of them as ‘checkpoints’ to motivate you to continue being true to yourself.

  2. Ha ha ha ha ! Dress up like Leberace and post a pic of that please ! Ha ha ha !

    For me, the rule to break is ‘girls don’t do the asking’. The last time I checked, I pretty much went out and got what I wanted in aalll areas of my life. So now I have to WAIT AROUND for a guy to call? I’d much rather ask, get the answer, and move on !

    • I will not indulge your strange Liberace fantasies, haha. I didn’t actually wear any of that crazy gear but I did witness many who did. Painful.

      Yeh, I blame Hollywood again. But, what I have also learned is that in certain Eastern European countries, it’s not just that the guys who have to do all the work, they also HAVE to pay for dates and literally provide for the girl from day one. But I agree with you, both sexes are equal in dating so why shouldn’t both sexes make the first move if they want?

  3. Trying to conquer my fears and break #7! I know how rewarding it can be to talk to strangers, and I often learn cool new stuff about the world through them. Stuff that I probably would have never known if I stuck to my own usual social circle. As we all know, the magic happens outside our comfort zone. :D
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    • Exactly, if we leave our comfort zones then that’s when all the good stuff starts happening. Speaking to strangers can be so outside of our zone that we might as well be in outer space – but it’s worth the initial pain to get that long time reward.

  4. All nice rules to break. Although I would say that saving as a rule isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m going to be trying my hand at perma-travelling starting in late march, and I’m realizing how much superfluous stuff I have. Spend on experiences, not on the newest arbitrary tech that doesn’t help you in any way shape or form. D:

    I actually considered getting involved in the pickup community, because one of my close friends in Japan who was really nice and authentic was somewhat involved. He even got me to try talking to strangers… which is pretty much fucking impossible for me. I have the most ridiculous mountain of uptightedness about that. I’m getting butterflies just thinking about it… hahaha. Something I plan to tackle this year.

    I’m not working towards a safe career, I don’t have a license, I’m probably not gonna settle down.. I’m pretty good at breaking rules!
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    • Yeh, saving for a purpose is a great idea, but remember, spending for no reason is also a bad idea. It’s all about striking a balance and buying the stuff you really want instead of being afraid to lose money.

      With meeting women, you don’t have to get involved in a ‘community’. There are a lot of strange people there, haha. Just build a philosophy of speaking to more women in general and it’s impossible not to improve that area of your life.

      Keep breaking rules, man!

  5. Jaime-I get a lot of inspiration and reassurance from most of what you say but I do think it’s important to suggest maybe that the ‘settle down with mortgage and kids’ and ‘save money’ items on this list need to live with qualifiers. First to admit that when you have kids, if you don’t have money, don’t have extended or real family and a network of friendly villagers to help with your kid(s), having a family is mostly misery compared to what’s out there for the picking and doing. Many of us who have kids and ‘settle down’ with the parent of that kid do so with the feeling that they are taking a daring risk, a tremendous ride, a magical roll of the dice with a sure payoff. It’s mostly not done as a strategic thing. Before the spouse and I hooked up we lived as singles who were struggling with aiming for all kinds of dreams, but we had a really stupid yearning for a great coupling. Still we didn’t have money on our own or together. In fact everything that could go south -did so-the minute we hooked-up in an effort to take a risk (we drove to vegas and hitched). I lost my job and insurance, he had no steady gig and the internet writing thing and joke writing thing and stand up comedy thing was kind of not a cash cow so much and was due to ‘blow up’….we shared an apartment but I’d bought a used car before we met and had payments because no one taught me how to deal with such basic things. Bills were high but one needs a car in a city like LA. I went without a car for a long time before that time and after the car payments because at some point my husband’s cheap beater car was impounded because he foolishly let his registration lapse. We were able to clear up the fees but the cost of yanking his lovely little Rabbit wasn’t worth it. So I regularly collected change and took the bus and did a lot of walking in a city not known for street life. We wound up deciding to have a kid because all of the folks who we thought were friends (we knew them for many years) and my family (who lived on the East Coast, were and are retarded and uncaring) and realized that we were going to have to do all of this not just alone but without a crowd of celebration as most people do. It was really great losing every performance booking because these ‘fellow artists’ were petty and hateful, it was wonderful to have a fellow performer who was pregnant rub her big ass happy pregnancy and big family and invite me to her massive baby shower and bail on me as many times as she said, ‘call me any time if you need anything’. I couldn’t work. THis was the part in time where working hard, saving money, socking some away and getting legit frankly saved our asses. THe spouse pitched training at his employer who never treated him right because he started as a temp (even though he created the first IT Department that firm had and ran it without any managment training or help desk support). But he got insurance and a 401k and five years after he started there, he was able to borrow off the max payments he put into the 401k to pay off our debts and yank a downpayment on a house at the end of the high housing market. Timing was everything. We were able to borrow against the home’s value two years later to fix it up and sell at a profit and move back East adn get into another house. But our mortgage is indeed crippling. Despite evolving my biz which is based on the arts and trying to expand it, despite the spouse doing everything he can on his full time job and taking other work from home as a writer and editor, we are fighting the fact that the world revolves around the top %1-%5 percentile folks and reserves seating for those who don’t do nearly that well but who have a ‘village’ of supporters in the form of friends, family and loyal coworkers who all reside nearby, old college mates and class parent buddies. Not everyone , like us for example, are so lucky. We’d LOVE to take a spur of the moment trip. We haven’t ever been able to do things like take an SUV to Joshua Tree, stay at a hot spring resort with the kids as they play under the table at dinner while we drink wine and eat 4 star food (as some apt dwelling friends who had 3 kids in a row without having insurance or jobs for most of that time but who did have a mother in law with money who bailed them out and they were willing to leave their kids with strangers in their apt complex and so they spent all their money on new clothes, a pricey SUV, family vacations…but now we’re both the same age and they are 5 people living in a 2 bedrm apt with a dog and they have no control. But they have the money to buy a gong for their Buddhist Altar. They have money for Air Fare to Germany where the wealthy in law lives. THey have money to go go Florida for two weeks and snorkeling. But the hubby floats from one painting gig to the next (house, not gallery artist painting), the wife is a masseuse and cripples and exhausts her skinny body doing OT and has no freedom to finish school because of their kids that they made no effort to plan, and because the hubby doesn’t try really hard to do his part, they have to save up for a year to have dental work on their family members one year one member at a time. THey’re renters so they could be evicted or bought out or pushed out by the condo move thing. We are hammered and hammering and work hard but it’s our place and we can’t be pushed out. We have health care which is critical (as crappy as it is) because we have a kid with Selective Mutism and another with Aspergers and two people in the house who wear glasses. It would be nice to just say, ‘let’s move to London, fuck it all!” (I would LOVE to move to London). But there are so many things in the way of that which only funding and lots of ingenuity and outside the box thinking can resolve. We have the outside the box stuff going on but money is what it is when the middle class economy is on hold. In a world where a $100K a year salary means only that you don’t have to buy used clothes all the time and that you can now order pizza when you feel like it most of the time and not ‘ renovate the home, install a pool, take a Disney vacation’ . I’m all for everything you say when you are single and have a lot of love in your life and friends who tell you that you’re great on your own and who give you a place to crash and put your name in the hat and keep the chain of human interaction going but not everyone has a thousand arms out there to reach for, not everyone has a great set -up in life and sometimes you have to creatively react to serious literal boring miserable responsibilities even though you know yourself, have a clear plan about how to try and break free of being under the world’s shoe and even if you do your best to laugh and stay smart and can’t just whip out a credit card and take a flight to try and catch the Northern Lights.

    • Hey, Viki.

      Wow. Thanks for your thoughts.

      I understand that anyone can find themselves in a difficult situation or restrictive in some way but it’s important to remember that there are always paths to take that can improve your lifestyle. Nothing is 100% set in stone and the only way we can move forwards is if we allow ourselves that opportunity. No path is without it’s pros and cons though, but as long as we’re all striving to be the best we can be, it should work out eventually.

      Everyone has something that someone else wants. Nobody has the perfect life.

  6. Wow — Jamie, I LOVE how you put your thoughts in this one. Thank you, esp. for the anti-conformity rant. I’m with you.

    I read somewhere that an artist archetype’s biggest fear is to be considered a part of a herd — same as everyone else. That’d shudder him/her. They’d rather be weird and different than conventional and boring.

    Pooja
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  7. “sewing your wild oats”

    Sowing. Unless you’ve got a needle and thread out…

    Sorry, the journalist in me cannot be stopped. Like your post. Although that awful book that encourages men to demean women and manipulate their insecurities is a horrible, misogynistic piece of trash. Neil Strauss is a horrible man.

    • Hi Laura, I must that that while the pickup industry is a bit strange and unhealthy (for the men) it is in no way manipulative or misogynistic.

      There is absolutely nothing that ever teaches, promotes or encourages men to demean or manipulate women. There is a subclass that focused on hypnotising and NLP to pick up women that died out a long time ago (because it didn’t work).

      It is literally about giving guys who lack the social skills to meet women the tools to enable them to improve their love life. In any area of life, you will get bad people, so it stands to reason that some guys will take this the wrong way but the pickup industry doesn’t create these men.

      Anyway, that was 2006. in 2014 it has evolved to an extent that it is far less about ‘lines’ and routines, and more about building confidence in men. Teaching them how to be their best self, to speak more confidently, to improve their tone of voice and body language. To teach guys to share their own stories and personality (not rehearsed lines) and to basically express their masculinity and vulnerable side.

  8. “I refuse to play games these days and I also refuse to serve up my balls on a platter. I’m just honest, open and vulnerable at all times. It doesn’t ‘work’ because it’s not a game or a tactic. I’ve learnt how to be ‘me’ and people will either say yes or they will say no.”

    I’m noticing this as we’re talking with my current relationship. I used to be so into PUA that it came and bit my ass hard.

    Great advices Jamie.
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  9. Hello Jamie,

    I’ve learned that it’s the people who break free from the common or normal routines of life that do great things. I try to live against what the media is saying because they are often leading people to laziness or false hope. Great thoughts here.

    • Hey Dan, yes, unfortunately many people (unwittingly) see the media as a great teacher when it usually fills our minds with false information.

  10. Great points! So much of what we’ve been taught is just not true.

  11. Awesome post Jamie.

    All great concepts – but the one I’m REALLY glad I followed was the not settling down and having kids rule.
    I didn’t even realize I wasn’t cutout for motherhood until I was in my late 20s…so I’m certainly glad I didn’t rush into this. I’ve never had any regrets about it either.

    Everything you discuss here basically references how we’re programmed to live a certain way and believe certain things. Once you recognize it for what it is…it’s a wonder we didn’t think to question things and free our minds sooner.
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    • Hey Dana, hindsight is a wonderful thing. I know I look back and wonder why I was so oblivious to the obvious, but the important thing is that I am learning to be me instead of someone who is ‘programmed’ a certain way. Not saying it always works though :p Thanks for your thoughts!

  12. Hi Jamie,
    My name is Sade and I found your blog just browsing through the Internet. I find your topics very insightful and strengthening. Keep up the good work. P.S. Love how you throw humour into serious subjects.

  13. We’ll go much farther, have much more fun, make much more money and live an infinitely more interesting life if we simply break a few rules every now and then.

    Perhaps that should be required to break at least one rule each day, no wait a minute then that would be a rule so in order to break that one we would need to follow all the rules each day.

    Aah, now my head hurts because you made me think, Jamie. Thank you.
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    • Exactly Stephen, life is more fun if we break a few rules now and then. How about, if we only break rules if we feel like it?

  14. Interesting stuff on the not owning a car.

    Personally, I do like owning a car it does give me more of a sense of freedom. However, recently I had to give it up. I have been using my bicycle and public transportation to get around.

    I think our government needs to be a better job with public transportation. Why not have light rails that are elevated so it doesn’t get in the way of traffic and never has to slow down? Why not have wifi on the bus? Why not have a more expensive ticket option for the light rail where you can get some more private, pleasurable seat?

    The car has always been a bit of a zen place for me. It is hard for me to get that feeling on the bus with other people around and how much it shakes compared to a car. Makes me physically sick sometimes. Plus, I get so bored just waiting for the bus.

    What I do love is with Google maps, you can easily go anywhere in the city.

    The big up side with not having a car is no car insurance, maintenance, or big payment to make. However, I am probably in a such more dangerous situation using my bicycle.

    Now what the government really needs are better bike lanes like these places:
    http://www.peopleforbikes.org/blog/entry/the-10-best-protected-bike-lanes-of-2013
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  15. your shits good man. i havent been able to pull myself away from your site yet, at this rate i wont b able to sleep tonight!

    imma stop commenting now so that i dont seem like a hooked parrot on repeat! ><

    *thumbs up*
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