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  • THE 7 RULES YOU WERE BORN TO BREAK

    1
    Pretend You Don't Matter

    Sometimes we get so caught up with our responsibilities, commitments, obligations, and plans that we miss what's true in the moment. When we follow this rule our local environment suffers from our lack of presence.

    2
    Be Normal

    The difference between you and everyone else is only one thing; what you love. Yet we've been taught to suppress what we love. We choose social safety over authenticity and hide our truth to appear "normal."

    3
    Be Popular

    Our potential is diminished when we compromise our vision in order to gain favor or approval from others. We've been trained to believe that victory requires an audience.

    4
    Avoid Mistakes

    When we confuse making a mistake with the culturally marketed concept of being a "failure," we stop taking reasonable risks and our opportunities for growth are severely diminished.

    5
    Stay Comfortable

    The expectation that we should be perpetually comfortable leaves us stuck when efforts are required. Indulging comfort tempts us to turn off, forget our vision, invest in instant gratifications, and live on automatic.

    6
    Be Independent

    We're trained to believe that having leverage over others is the basis of authority, that control equals power, but control is never as powerful as relationship.

    7
    Stay in Control

    Most of us seem to believe that not asking for help makes us a better person, that we get more points for doing things on our own. Yet it's easy to get stuck without help.


Recent Course Lessons

Examine Need for Permission – Day 21 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is to pull out a piece of paper and make a list of as many actions as you can that you are waiting for permission to take. It could be at work, at home, in a relationship, relative to an art form or some creative expression – something you’ve wanted to do or try, something you imagine would be wonderful and fulfilling to engage. Make the list as big as you can. Reviewing the list there will be items that it’s appropriate to seek permission for,
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Match the Pace – Day 20 of 21

The mismatch of our own speed in relationship to others may indicate we are more oriented to the rule Stay in Control than we are to building relationship with others. When we lag behind while someone else feels urgency — or when we spring ahead when a partner, colleague, child, or friend can’t keep up — our pay-off might be a sense of control. Today’s engagement practice is to pay attention to the speed at which relationship could flourish between others and us. If that means talkin
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Energize the Goal – Day 19 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is to revise a current goal that you may have been hiding behind by keeping it small, vague, timid, or bland, until it matches the spirit of your full capacity and of your brightest future. How much we believe we matter shows up in our goals, and how big we’re willing to think indicates how seriously we take ourselves. We may think of faith as trusting in something beyond ourselves, yet faith at its foundation requires an acknowledgment of the strength of
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Join the Crowd – Day 18 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is to go somewhere you usually avoid because it’s too busy. It takes energy and effort to break the rule Stay Comfortable and choose to co-exist with a crowd, to care for our own person and space while at the same time accommodating a meeting of others. You could dine at the popular restaurant, attend the sporting event, the party, the concert, the seminar, the meeting, or the conference. It requires a degree of physical presence and strength of embodiment
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Interrupt the Solo – Day 17 of 21

I’m not sure about everyone else, but a good part of me has bought into what seems to be a cultural phenomenon spawned by the media where we take the opportunity to solo as the greatest accomplishments of our lives. We seem programmed to seek out those moments where we’re alone in the spotlight, able to take full credit for a win while the world, or just some imaginary audience in our minds, breaks into applause for a job well done — and done alone. Today’s engagement practice,
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Enter the Space – Day 16 of 21

Today’s practice is to enter a distinct space that you’ve been avoiding. Whether it’s an office in your own organization, a store where you need to make a purchase, a fitness room, a chat room, a classroom, or a client’s place of business — just think of any space that you avoid or have put off walking into because you feel unsure or hesitant about what will happen once you’ve stepped over to the other side. (Perhaps it’s just the comment box below you’r
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Reason Honestly – Day 15 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is to share the real reason behind our opinion, an action we take, or a decision we’ve made. Often when asked, we’ll provide reasons for our actions or words that we imagine will be acceptable to the other person and that will allow us to shield us ourselves from being truly seen from an authentic perspective. I also believe there are exceptions to this — circumstances where it’s more appropriate to be diplomatic and intentional about the information we give to anothe
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Unpicture Perfect – Day 14 of 21

This one is for the perfectionists in the room. Today’s engagement practice is just to choose one task, responsibility, or duty — the outcome of which will reflect on you — and let it remain just unfinished, not quite done, a step short of perfect. Yes of course excellence is ordinarily defined by follow through, commitment, being your word, accountability, precision, impeccability, etc. Yet when our personal reputation becomes more important than the vision or goal then we’re no longer focused
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Welcome Critique – Day 13 of 21

The heart of the matter when we seek to Stay in Control of others is that we seek to protect our version of reality. The way we view the world and the way we view ourselves within it can become a house of cards that we attempt to protect from the threat of alternative perceptions. Today’s engagement practice is to invite somebody who sees the world – and perhaps even you – in a light that is different from the one you cherish and nurture. Ask for their point of view, opinion, o
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Admit the Value – Day 12 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is to lighten up on yourself for gosh sakes and to break the rule, Pretend You Don’t Matter. Pick one of those areas where you are chronically unyielding in your own self-criticism and give yourself credit for what you’ve tried, how far you’ve come, what you’ve accomplished, and the value of your intention, despite the results. If you really can’t see any of this, then talk to one person who cares about you and ask them where you co
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Complete the Communication – Day 11 of 21

Successful communication is a lot of work. To communicate effectively we have to be precise, thorough, and in some cases to repeat ourselves while finding new ways to say the same thing until it is fully received. Today’s practice is not to give up on conveying what is important just because it’s hard. Perhaps there are some half conversations that have been left hanging in your personal or professional atmosphere that are the source of tension, confusion, or the distracting feeling
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Receive the Gratitude – Day 10 of 21

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been receiving these practices, considering them in their lives, and especially those of you who have been participating by contributing to the community conversation regarding Intelligent Misbehavior. Your efforts are impressive and inspiring to me. Now if you’re like me, you probably brush off such expressions of gratitude by believing or telling yourself that you are not one of the people I’m talking about. That the compliment doesn’t
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Meet a Stranger – Day 9 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is a way of “trying something new” – the action of Intelligent Misbehavior that gets us over the rule Avoid Mistakes. Talking to the wrong person, in the wrong way, or at the wrong time is a fear that keeps us socializing in circles of limited contact – frequenting only the familiar relationships we already feel safe within. Try introducing yourself to one person you’ve never talked to before today. If the point is not already obvio
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Tell Us Your Title – Day 8 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is to tell us what the title of your book would be if you were publishing the story of your life. In the space of a title, how would you describe the essence of your focus, concerns, talent, or contribution on the planet so far — or even your plans for the future? How many countless individuals have said at some point, “I want to write a book,” yet never got around to it? I have a theory about writer’s block, however, which is that “write
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Disagree – Day 7 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is to start three sentences today with the words, “I disagree…” and then complete the sentence with the appropriate content. This supplemental practice challenges the Be Popular rule by inviting us to confront any false alliances we may be nurturing. That is circumstances, projects, arrangements, or perspectives that we’re just going along with, when we actually need the courage to challenge them if we’re going to protect a true alt
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Refrain From Advising – Day 6 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is to refrain from offering unsolicited advice to anyone. Seem simple? Just pay attention and you might be surprised at how much of this we do, dressed in the disguise of “helping.” The working assumption here is that when somebody is ready to take action based on input or direction from another person, they’ll ask for it. In the gap where the advice would have flowed (from you to them), focus on being present to their experience of the problem
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Applaud the Effort – Day 5 of 21

I’m a speaker, comedian, and entertainer. The work I get paid for involves presenting live in front of audiences. More and more lately I literally have the experience of people watching me as though I were on a TV screen. They forget that there’s an actual person up there in front of the room. Your engagement practice for today is simply this — if you like or appreciate anything you see somebody do today, consider actually responding with a visible smile, laugh, words of appreciation, or even ap
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Shorten the Shower – Day 4 of 21

The pleasure of comfort increases as we are able to choose it. When we become a slave to comfort — when we MUST have it to feel good or happy — then that comfort is attended by a measure of underlying anxiety we try to eliminate by getting even more comfortable. The way out of this loop is to prove to ourselves that we can survive and thrive without the comfort. This frees us to enjoy comforts when they are present, to choose them when we wish, and then to meet circumstances that require effort,
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Share the Issue – Day 3 of 21

Today’s engagement practice requires some self-honesty and introspection. Our focus is on breaking the rule Be Independent. The task is to ask yourself the question, “What’s one thing I need help with?” It could be something in your personal life, a relationship challenge, something health related, parenting, or even a household maintenance issue. Or you might need help at work — more guidance, more support, more training, a better budget, new tools. Just identify one thi
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Bet the Long Shot – Day 2 of 21

The willingness to participate in circumstances, activities, or relationships where the odds seem not to be in our favor is vitally important on the path of growth, learning, and excellence. Today’s engagement practice is to try something you’ve been considering, yet have shied away from engaging in because success seems unlikely. It could be a program you want to be a student of, but the acceptance rate is low – it could be a contest you would like to participate in, but the c
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Share the Enjoyment – Day 1 of 21

Today’s engagement practice is simply to share with at least one other person the experience of something you enjoyed in your past. It could be something you experienced recently or a more distant memory about a pleasurable, rewarding experience. If you’re willing to share the experience of an unusual activity that provided you with joy (all in the bounds of good taste of course) then all the better. Notice how you feel as you share the story. What happens to your energy? Does it mak
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