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You Didn't Make the Rules, so Why Follow Them?

Have you noticed as more and more of the world goes online and we become more and more connected (yet more independent) that all the old world institutions like newspapers, record labels, publishing companies, and even our education system ramp up their efforts to convince us we need them?

They’ve done an excellent job of setting themselves up as gatekeepers, explaining that we need them to set the rules and dictate what does and doesn’t get published, who gets heard and who stays silent, who earns a living from their creative work and who gets relegated to the amateur category.

In large part, we still buy that argument even though we know it means we’ll never get our own shot at greatness.

These industries have come to power and determined what is and isn’t acceptable for consumption. They’ve set the standard and if you don’t fit it, you’re out of luck.

What a catch-22. We want to do great work and be recognized for it, but there’s no way we can break in without towing the line and changing our dreams to fit the mass market.

Of course, there’s another way, but it’s a little work.

All these rules were designed and implemented long before you were even here. You had no say in their creation, so why should you follow them? Why not, instead, change the rules and actually give yourself a chance at winning?

If you want to make it somewhere these days, you’ll probably have to.

The Rise of the Underdog

The American Revolution was won by guerrillas. The US would have never beat Britain if we’d agreed to fight on their terms. With all the rules of war stacked in favor of the powers that created them, they’d have slaughtered us if we’d obeyed.

Instead, we changed the rules and fought from behind trees and ambushed them at night. We substituted their rules for our own and defeated the strongest nation in the world, declaring our own freedom.

In fact, almost every major battle in history has been won through guerrilla warfare. David can’t beat Goliath unless he changes the rules.

The credit card industry exists to lend us money in order to keep us in debt and line its pockets with interest payments. That’s how the system is set up and if you play by those rules, you’ll be forever trying to crawl out of a hole that was designed to get deeper faster than you can climb.

Of course, a few people change the rules, taking the bait they offer and making off with it like the fish that stole your favorite lure. Rather than using credit cards like magic money machines, they use them as tools to get all kinds of free stuff – cash rewards, discounts on thing’s they’d buy anyway, and free trips around the world with frequent flyer miles.

Those prizes weren’t designed to be given away for free, but landmines weren’t designed to not blow people up, either. If you can get across the minefield, enjoy your prize – you deserve it.

What about farmers and grocery stores? For ages (and still to this day) all the major grocery stores were in bed with the major agricultural farmers. They snubbed out the local farms with fresh, healthy food.

If they’d accepted this fate, they’d still be battling just to get a spot on the shelf at the supermarket, but instead, they said “Forget it, we’ll make our own stores!” and started organizing farmer’s markets and co-ops where people could buy fresh food in their own neighborhood – just like it had been done before the big guys took over.

It was a massive success, and now most people in the U.S. can get fresh, local food just by walking down the street.

Everywhere you look and see a success story, you almost always see old rules being substituted for new ones.

If you want something and there are too many gates in your way, don’t waste your life trying to convince their keepers to open them for you, get out your night-vision goggles and lock picking set.

The old systems give you an easy path to follow that doesn’t go anywhere. If you really want to make a difference, you’ll have to change the rules and blaze your own trail.


Enter Mark McGuinness, one of Riskology.co’s top secret support staff and genius behind Lateral Action, the site for creative entrepreneurs. Next week, Mark is opening a course called The Creative Entrepreneur’s Roadmap and I’m partnering with him on it. This is for people who are serious about gate jumping and taking their creative businesses to the next level, so it’s not cheap and it certainly won’t be for everyone.

What is cheap, though, are the two free e-books that he’s releasing as part of the launch. Even if the course isn’t right for you, check out the books because there’s lots of really useful information. That’s one way I’ve gotten a ton of free education over the years. You can download the first one right here (right click + save as):

Freedom, Money, Time, & the Key to Creative Success

And feel free to pass this free e-book around to anyone you think might benefit from it.


Image by: thevonDOOMs