Rules… Keep’em, Break’em, Ponder’em or Stretch’em?

Posted: February 19, 2014 in Podcasts, Wandering Thoughts
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i wonder what makes some people think that they can break rules? In my thought process i began thinking about people i know who seem to be rule breakers all the time and those that are rule keepers, like me… well most of the time, ell some of the time. For this post and podcast i’m using “rules” in a broad sense meaning any kind of instruction to do or not do something.

Let me begin by saying that there is nothing scientific about this information and I have no degrees in anything to support my findings. This comes from simple observations and nothing more. So, i identified 3 types of personalities based on my observations of people’s acceptance or unacceptance of rules. There’s the Keeper, the Breaker, and the Ponderer. Now before i go further into those personalities, let me explain rules a little more.

First there are external rules… Laws, traffic signs, speed limits, pass, do not pass, a “request” from Ann Marie, a work deadline, or detailed instructions from my doctor? The question is, How do i respond to External rules?

Then there are Internal rules… A New Year’s resolution, a decision to exercise more, putting effort into self satisfying projects like writing a blog, a book, or applying in a practical way a lesson learned. Same question, How do i respond to Internal rules?

With those two questions answered and the results held clearly in my mind let me move on and see which personality type i fit into.

Keeper—accepts rules, whether from outside or inside. A Keeper meets deadlines, follows doctor’s order, keeps a New Year’s resolution.

Ponderer—questions rules and accepts them only if they make sense. They may choose to follow rules, or not, according to their judgment.

Breaker—flouts rules, from outside or inside. They resist control. Give a Breaker a rule, and the Breaker will want to do the very opposite thing.

Some examples:

Keeper stops at a stop sign at 3:00 a.m. in a small deserted town. A Ponderer decides whether it’s safe to stop. A Breaker rolls through the stop sign at 3:00 p.m. in traffic.

A Keeper can train with a trainer or exercise on their own. A Ponderer can do either if they think it makes sense. A Breaker will do neither, because the fact that there is an appointment or an item on their to-do list makes them want to disobey.

Of course, this is about my tendency. There’s a margin of error, and no one accepts or resists all rules, and then some people don’t fit easily into one of the three types. Each type has its pros and cons. Do you recognize yourself?

I think my natural instinct is to be a Keeper… whether i like the rule or not. Whether i think it makes sense or not usually would not sway my inclination to Keep the rule either.

As i was coming to the close of today’s post i just realized there is one more personality type, it’s the Stretcher. The Stretcher doesn’t necessarily keep nor break the rule , they just stretch the rule. They find loop holes and use them to their advantage. Personal example: Years ago, for whatever reason i decided that i was not supposed to speed. If the limit is 70 then 70 it is. There is one off-ramp that i have driven for 8 years now and the limit is 25. It’s the stupidest thing there is, in my mind anyway. There have actually been people who have passed me on this ramp as it curves around to the road it’s intended to take me to. Others just get right up on my bumper and sort of push me through osmosis. Non the less 25 is 25. Somewhere in those years i began looking to my right at the road below this off ramp to see if there was a police car there. The only honest reason i can give for that is that i was Pondering, the possibility of becoming a rule Breaker. But, i thought better and came up with a different solution. i became a Stretcher. As a stretcher i determined that while the limit was 25 a policeman would most likely not stop me for doing 30. Great logic right! So… i applied that same logic to other situations as well. On the expressway where the limit is 70 i Stretch it to 75 using the same assumption regarding when the policeman would think it was worth pulling me over. i think i have made my point. Hummmm, i wonder how i can get this to work for my bank account? Oh that’s right it does, but it comes with what they call an overdraft fee!

But seriously, when it comes to God things, i wonder which personality type would i be… A Keeper, one who hears the word and does the word. A Breaker, one who hears the word and ignores it, A ponderer, one who hears the word and then just thinks or talks about it. Or a Stretcher, one who hears it and then stretches it to its limits for personal purposes. Most likely i’ve been all of those at one time or another.


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