Saturday, June 6, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #30: Make and Break the Rules

PLAY: Make and Break the Rules
"Rule Six: There is NO... Rule Six."
—Monty Python

Fools look for games everywhere. If they can't find them, they make them up. If they get bored, they add new rules. If they aren't getting what they want, they break the rules. If that's not enough to win, they'll start a brand new game.

Games have goals, strategies and tactics, limited time and space, fun (essential!), and rules. The rules give structure that frees you up for creative expression. Too many choices lead to indecisive paralysis. Too many rules, and the thrill is gone.

Look at your problem as a game, figure out what the rules are, then go from there.

In a stage play, fools can be participants in a story, then suddenly step outside the action, break the imaginary fourth wall, and comment on the events as if they were members of the audience. In a similar way, you can be utterly immersed in a game, then stop and see it for what it is, just a game, one you most likely invented yourself, and with arbitrary rules ready to be challenged, broken, and changed.

Finally, learn from a master (click thumbnail to enlarge):

Think: What game am I playing? What are the rules? What rules can I make up? What rules can I break? How do I get out of this game and start a new one?

Tomorrow: How to Think Like a Fool #31: Compete with Yourself

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