When I was serving in the Navy people asked me if after my service I would be going to India (as part of the “post service” almost every Israeli takes after their military service- something like a “gap year”). I said that even if the paid me I won’t do it. At the time it appeared to me as India was a place young Israelis go to in order to get high, lay on the beach all day or try to find “enlightenment” by doing Yoga or stuff. And that wasn’t for me.
Several years later while working for a multinational corporate I was asked to go to India to help set up a joint venture company with a local firm. I couldn’t really decline, so I’ve found myself traveling to India. And then again. And again. I can’t recall how many times I’ve visited, but my passport has 7 Indian Visas in it.
So in the end, they did pay me, and I did go there. Multiple times. And I even liked some of it- the people were extremely nice, the food interesting and some of the sites were unbelievable. And it got me thinking about the “Rules” we make to ourselves and what they mean to our career. For instance, during my service at the Navy I can across a high ranking officer who was not my cup of tea, so I told myself I would never work with him. Several years later, and what do you know- I ended up working closely with the man, and actually enjoying it. Same goes to industries I’ve said I won’t work in, place I didn’t like to visit, etc.
I even recall saying I would never wear a suite to my wedding, and now I relish every opportunity to wear one for work… and the list goes on.
It seems as though as you grow up you tend to break many of the rules you set for yourself when you were younger. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Perhaps you really shouldn’t be tied by the same set of rules which were fitting when you when 18, or 28 later in life?
So I made myself a rule. Instead of making rules, breaking them and rationalizing it after hand, I decided I will make fewer rules, and try to be more flexible. That does not mean I gave up on my principles- I still consider myself to be reliable, trustworthy and a good person. But if a situation shall arise when I will have to act slightly differently to get things done, I will do so without remorse.
Try it. Use less conclusive language- I will NEVER work with that person, I won’t EVER do that. The less you do, the more free you will become to make decisions which suit who you are now, not who you were when you made the damn rule.
But remember- even this isn’t a rule…