Rules That Can Get You Killed

Rules that can get you killed
If you’re a runner, you know that there are certain unwritten rules that you use when running on roads.
Never run on the side of the road where you can’t see the cars or the cars can’t see you.

Sure, there are variations to this rule, but the biggest issue with running on roads with cars is making sure the cars know you’re there. Makes sense, right?

A couple weeks ago I took a trip to Arkansas and did some running while I was there. Arkansas is one of the most beautiful states (in my humble opinion). The landscape is hilly and steep, complete with winding roads. It’s really a treat to run on.

However, the problem with hilly and steep roads is that oftentimes your view of oncoming traffic is obstructed. In fact, often there were times running where neither side of the road was safe to run on. So if you can’t see the cars coming in front of you, you’re in trouble.

Now, I could continue the story and tell you how I almost killed myself, ran off a steep ditch and twisted an ankle (all true), but I’ll save you the gory details. The fact of the matter is I was dumb and trying to adhere to running norms in a landscape that was anything but normal. But as I hobbled the last half mile home, I came upon this (painful) revelation: rules aren’t really all that great.

The Dangerous Rules

Each hill, each bend in the road is different, and you’ll need unique and specific solutions to get around them. Not a generic, outdated rulebook. There is no right or wrong way to do most things; professional or otherwise. And you should be wary of people who tell you there are.

My partner in crime Brian has had to bend software in weird ways on our latest project because we’re using the software in unconventional ways. That’s the beauty (and scary part) of being an entrepreneur: often we’re forging into uncharted territory.

Sometimes with running–as with life–there is no “Golden Rule”. Sometimes there are no rules at all, and you have to make them up as you go along. There are no guidebooks, best practices, or anything that can be Googled.

Don’t try to apply conventional wisdom. You have to improvise and act quickly on your feet, otherwise you’ll get run over (literally or figuratively).

What about you? What situations have you found yourself in where conventional wisdom or rules didn’t work? I’d love to hear them.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Eric July 22, 2011, 9:58 pm

    Good article.  I totally agree that golden rules are often anything but.
    BTW, I live in AR.  Thanks for not completely trashing us.  What part of the state were you in?

    Reply
    • Glen Stansberry July 22, 2011, 9:59 pm

      Eric,

      Thanks for the kind words. I love Arkansas! We were near Hot Springs in the country. Absolutely
      gorgeous with the lakes and hills.

      Reply
  • Laurie July 24, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Hi Glen – sorry for posting this here, but the “Contact Glen” email form isn’t working for me (the secure numbers/letters I enter are never considered a “match” to the prompt).  Also wanted to let you know that in all locations on your site to sign up to your email list, there are fields for name and email address, but no “Send” button to submit.  It may just be my browser (IE 7.0?), but wanted to let you know.  Thanks!

    Reply
    • Glen Stansberry July 25, 2011, 1:54 pm

      Hi Laurie,

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’ve fixed that form button.

      Reply
      • Laurie July 25, 2011, 2:31 pm

        All’s working now — thanks so much!

        Reply
  • Sean McGlothlin July 25, 2011, 5:25 pm

    Nice article, There is a good qoute from Pirates of the Carribean that applies here: “the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules”. I try to follow most SOLID princibles couples wit TTD however I do tend to look at them more as guidelines then set in stone rules. There will always be exceptions, bad data structure, weird business rules, ultra tight deadlines etc…

    Reply
    • Glen Stansberry July 25, 2011, 6:28 pm

      10 points for pulling a quote from Pirates of the Carribbean :)

      Reply
  • Tim Brownson July 25, 2011, 8:07 pm

    Most Life Coaches seem to want to give off an aura of “my life is perfect”

    I think they do that because they believe that’s what clients want and/or expect. I take a completely different approach and I’m happy to swear, whine and joke on my blog.

    I know it irritates some people, but it also resonates with some others and anyway, I get to be who I am rather than pretending I’m perfect and I don’t ever have sucky days.

    BTW, I do have sucky days ;-)

    Reply
    • Glen Stansberry July 25, 2011, 8:21 pm

      Yeah, I appreciate that about you :) And here’s the kicker: I bet 90% of life coaches don’t really use their true voice because they’re afraid of not having that all-too-typical life coachy vibe.

      Thanks for being different (and vulgar)! ;)

      Reply
  • Jure Kralj July 29, 2011, 4:29 pm

    Well, the conventional wisdom of all conventional wisdoms, the golden rule, lets me down many times because I’m a masochist. If I followed it, I’d mistreat other human beings.

    Reply
  • Ice April 30, 2017, 6:33 am

    Stay with this guys, you’re heinplg a lot of people.

    Reply
  • pappa May 3, 2017, 5:33 am

    I think they do that because they believe that’s what clients want and/or expect. I take a completely different approach and I’m happy to swear, whine and joke on my blog.

    Reply