The Rules of Life: Whose Rule Book Are You Following?

The Rules of Life: Whose Rule Book Are You Following?

Are you — right now — living a life completely by your own rules? I’m not talking about your parents’ rules, your boss’s rules, or your partner’s rules. Living your life by other people’s rules — no matter how well-intentioned they may be — means that you’re living their lives, dreams, frustrations, and visions for you.

A few years ago, I was hanging out with a client named Sharon, and she was telling me how she lived according to her father’s rules. She was supposed to date a certain type of man: a nice Jewish boy from the suburbs; after all, she was a nice Jewish girl from the suburbs.

But there was a problem — that was her father’s vision for her, not her own.

Giving In To Other People's Rules Can Be Hard to Resist

People try to get you to live according to their rules, and the temptation to give in can be hard to resist. Certain individuals become so influenced by their friends that they end up jumping into situations that they should have avoided or missing out on mates who would have been a perfect match.

There was this woman I met at Whole Foods a long time ago, and we ended up having a great connection and conversation. I was jazzed about it. Everything seemed as if it was exactly the way it should have been — it was one of those serendipitous moments that we’re all looking for, where meeting someone new feels natural and real. I called her the next day, leaving her a message about how much I enjoyed our conversation.

She never called me back.

What's Up With That? Whose Rules Were You Following?

Six months later, I saw her in a store, walked right up to her, and said, “Hey, how are you?”

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She was taken aback that I was so friendly and not bitter about her never calling me. So we started talking, and after a moment I looked her right in the eye and asked, “You never called — what was up with that?”

She replied, “Yeah, I’m sorry. I got home, and I was so excited about our conversation that I shared the story with my friend. She told me that it didn’t feel right — that you must be a player or something.

With Doubt Comes Fear: It Must be Too Good to be True...

The Rules of Life: Whose Rule Book Are You Following?“She planted a seed of doubt in my mind, and the second that happened, I started thinking that everything was too perfect. In life, we’re taught not to trust anything that’s too good to be true, and you honestly seemed too good to be true. I heard your message, and I wanted to call you so back so bad — but I didn’t.

“So then I went to another friend and asked her what to do. She told me that I should call you back. I was so conflicted. I was just about to go find your number when my other friend called and reminded me about the time that a similar situation occurred where all the guy wanted to do was sleep with me. So a day turned into a week, a week turned into two weeks . . . and I almost dialed your number so many times, but just couldn’t do it. I’m sorry.”

Living by Someone Else's Rules Can Ruin Your Life

I had to laugh. “It’s funny, isn’t it? When we get exactly what we want in life, we don’t trust it, because we allow other people — people who weren’t there and didn’t experience that moment — to ruin it for us,” I told her. “You weren’t living by your rules, you were living by someone else’s.”

This woman and I never got together, yet it really didn’t matter. It was a great lesson for both of us.

You have to live by your rules, because you only have one shot at this thing called life. So why hold yourself back by allowing other voices to fill your head when your heart is aching to give you the life you were meant to have? And that’s the beauty of life: you can craft it, do what you want, and not have to be anybody else. That’s what this journey is all about.

Create Your Own Rule Book & Trash the Old One

Here’s a wonderful exercise for you to do right now. Create your own rule book. In it, write down everything that you want to live by — everything that you stand for.

Next, list the rules that other people have given you. Now look at these items, and cross out each one of them. You’re not going to live your life according to someone else’s rules ever again.

Another exercise is to focus on surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people. If you’ve got friends who don’t support you in your journey, you need to eliminate them from your life. You can keep them as a friend by e-mailing or talking on the phone once in a while, but the second they try to dominate or control things that are going on with you, you need to hang up.

Learn To Say No: Live By Your Own Rules

When a buddy calls on Friday night to ask, “Do you want to go out tonight? We’re going to go out all night and party our heads off,” you know that this option isn’t going to yield the results you want (finding a great mate). So what should you say?


Learn to say no. Live by your own rules, because this is your life and you’re going to run it using your rule book. Right now, go to the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say, “I’m going to stand up. I’m going to fight for myself."

Starting today, you’re going to love and honor yourself, and you’re going to love and honor every decision you make, whether it’s right or wrong. Every judgment you make is the right one so long as you’re the one who made it and you trusted yourself when you did so. Live by your rules, and your rules only.

Write your rule book, and then live it.

Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Hay House Inc.
©2012 David Wygant.

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Naked!: How to Find the Perfect Partner by Revealing Your True Self by David WygantNaked!: How to Find the Perfect Partner by Revealing Your True Self
by David Wygant.

In this informative book, dating expert David Wygant will help you conquer your relationship fears and insecurities once and for all and attract the kind of people you want to meet, date, and build long-term relationships with.

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About the Author

David Wygant, author of the InnerSelf article: The Rules of Life -- Whose Rule Book Are You Following?David Wygant is one of today’s most successful and sought-out dating experts and coaches. For more than 20 years, David has been earning the trust of American men and women looking to transform their love lives. His three-day Group Bootcamps are offered in the largest markets — including New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. — up to 20 times a year, and his hourly coaching and one-on-one programs are extremely popular. David’s Take Center Stage™ Seminar for business has found widespread application for improving the first-impression skills of business teams, and his Men’s and Women’s Mastery audio series are the most comprehensive home-study resources for dating coaching available anywhere. David Wygant wrote the popular 2005 book: Always Talk to Strangers: 3 Simple Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life. Visit his website:


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