Rules are important but our perspective on rules is even more important. If I see a rule as an obstacle, I am more likely to feel inconvenienced by it. I may be more apt to complain about and eventually break the inconvenient rule. However, if I see a rule as a boundary instead of an obstacle, I appreciate the safety and clarity of what is permissible and why the rule is in place.
Complaining about circumstances has little value in reality. It can make us feel better, but it doesn’t move the needle on the type of improved life we are looking for. If I don’t put in the work required for success, then I can’t legitimately complain about my own lack of success. A case could be made that I could legitimately complain about a lack of opportunities for success. I could complain that hard work doesn’t just come to me at my level of preferred effort. Complaining about a lack of success while refusing to participate in the known practices that achieve that success is not only illogical but also annoying to the people that chose the successful path.
Discipline is an odd word. It can have a negative connotation in that it can mean punishment. We discipline our children when they misbehave. What we mean is that we reinforce the rule that was broken. This teaches the consequence of behaving in an undisciplined way. The hope, I imagine, would be that the consequence would be aversive enough to encourage a more disciplined choice in the future. Once we grow up, we are in charge of our own personal discipline. We decide if we eat our veggies or get enough sleep. Unfortunately, our consequences are usually from our doctor or boss if we don’t make the disciplined choice often enough in our adulthood.
Rules exist for very good reasons. Many rules exist to keep everyone safe and conditions fair. Rules get added when either safety or fair play are compromised. Rules can have a negative connotation but they teach us our limits. Too often people like to break rules because they don’t like being told no. Why not focus on what is allowed within the boundaries? It takes flexibility and creativity to operate well inside the rules of the game.
I have noticed some common traits in low-challenge leaders. These leaders almost always feel over-challenged themselves. They are likely overworked and understaffed. That is the paradox they create for themselves. When they resent their own state of high challenge, they don’t want to be like the leader that placed them there. So they care for their team by making sure they never have to work as hard as they do. This decrease in challenge for the rest of the team centralizes the high challenge of the resentful leader. The resentment grows and gets projected in every ask they make. Requests become apologetic instead of inspiring. An uninspired team is less responsive. The lack of response proves the narrative that the ask is too much and thus the cycle continues.