I got in a habit for a good portion of my early twenties of hearing anything resembling a rule and automatically thinking “Fuck You”. I don’t want to do that. I’m not going to listen to you. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ll figure out a better way to do things, and I won’t have to follow your stupid rules. What I never did, was take into account my natural inclination to oppose authority. Any type of authority.
From a parental figure to the government, if I felt like you were looking down on me you weren’t my superior, you were my enemy. In my mind, I was bucking against authority because they represented a challenge to the egalitarian views I held so dearly. In reality, I was worse than what I imagined the authority figures to be. I was putting myself on a pedestal for no logical reason besides the power and persuasion of my own ego.
I had to realize that without any conscious or definitive thought behind my stances, I was just that guy screaming angrily on the corner. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of well-read and researched reasons that I could list off for why all of my stances were well founded. However, there’s a huge difference between reciting the position someone else has created for you, and thinking through your own position on things. That latter half I have gotten gradually better at doing.
At the same time, the more knowledge I acquire the less I know. There are endless ways of spinning this same phrase, but what it boils down to is that the more I expand my awareness, the more I realize how much knowledge there is that I will never be able to obtain. I also realize how gray everything is in this world. It’s easy to shut your ears to an opposing viewpoint. Just look at most of our politicians, and most of our population for that matter. It’s far more challenging to listen to your opposition, consider their arguments, and, if possible, find a compromise between your views and theirs. And, if you can’t compromise, then have a really good, clear reason why not.
For that very reason, I have found a great deal of wisdom in listening to suggestions and accepting structural rules or boundaries after conscious consideration to stay grounded and moving forward.
If I decide that I will buck against every rule, or preconceived way of doing things, that I encounter then I’m never going to go anywhere. If I carry a foundation of sound reasoning and reflection in all of my affairs, then I can more adequately determine which battles to choose.
Definitive reasoning for bucking against rules, makes me far more powerful and persuasive. Without that, I’m just an opposing force. A brutish, rough, unthinking force that flies in the face of anything it comes in contact with. I can think of several people like that, and I don’t really want to be like any of them. I don’t like the idea of walking through my life with a blindfold on in any fashion.