Everybody Wants Rules


But what if there aren’t any? Really? I’ve found life is too damn messy to be simplified into a list of rules. But everybody wants them. They lap up the next big list of rules. Why?

Everyone wants easy answers. See Twitter’s 140 characters. See T***p. See religion. See fundamentalists. See five or ten steps to anything.

But unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, there are no easy answers. Yet, there will always be the next big list. Aristotle’s Ten Rules for Life (according to Arthur Brooks), the Ten Commandments, the Bill of Rights, Maimonides’ 13 Principles of Faith, Yoga Sutras, Quran Surahs, the Fibonacci Sequence, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, Billboard’s Top Ten, Wine Spectator’s Top 100, ad nauseam. One of my former friends and noted business influencer once posted his “5 Keys to Taking a Vacation.” Oh my. Stay OUT of my fucking vacation.

Humans will do anything to avoid real life and real solutions. Anything. Simplistic answers and lists feel good for the moment but ultimately fail to address real life. I agree with noted psychologist Carl Jung who believed life was like a meander or a multi-leveled mandala. A careful study of historic meanders proves rewarding. Meander comes from Greek Maiandros, an old name for a winding river in Asia Minor now known as the Menderes. Despite this origin, the word is more commonly used to refer to a person’s wandering course than a river’s. Merriam-Webster defines meander as following a winding or intricate path.

In “The Quest,” I suggest doing a life review. As I “practiced what I preached” and did my own, it quickly became numerous multi-layered meanders chronicling each year. It was a stunning visual of how intricate my life has been. I cannot shrink my 65 years into a numbered and sequential list. Impossible.

And I want my next three decades (fingers crossed) to fit into something other than a numbered and sequential list. I want my life to be complex, full of variety and questions without easy answers. To be filled with new adventures and challenges. Yes! I want to meander through my remaining years. I do not choose to adopt a boring list of rules. For me, at this point in life, a human whose spiritual essential is freedom, the LAST thing I want is another list of rules. I’ve had my fill of them.

I will never forget celebrating the sale of a business with a splurge trip to Little Palm Island, Florida. As I disembarked the beautiful Truman teak and wooden motor yacht, our concierge proclaimed, “Welcome to Little Palm Island, where the only rule is there are NO rules.” Now THAT is what I’m talking about. Take your list of rules and shove them. I want to soak in every moment of the messy, winding, intricate meander called life.