Melvyn Tan
October 10, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

Do Your Rules Empower You?

[blockquote source=”Matthew 11:28 (NIV)“]“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.[/blockquote] What were some of your objectives when you embarked on your professional journey, be it as a teacher, banker, freelance agents, or entrepreneur?  My guess is that one of your main objectives is to succeed.  I […]

[blockquote source=”Matthew 11:28 (NIV)“]“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.[/blockquote]

What were some of your objectives when you embarked on your professional journey, be it as a teacher, banker, freelance agents, or entrepreneur?  My guess is that one of your main objectives is to succeed.  I mean it would be unthinkable that you would not include success as one of your main objectives.

We all want to be successful.  We all want to feel significant.  We all want to be able to connect with other people, to influence them, and to help them grow.  In short, we all want to be able to contribute to the betterment of the lives of others.

We all have certain expectations that in order to be successful, we must meet some requirements.  The question is, where did we get these expectations from?  Did we get these expectations from our education, our experiences, or our environment?

In school, perhaps, in order to be deemed as “successful”, one has to publish research papers in peer-evaluated academic journals.  For instance, when I was in University, one of dream is to be published in an academic journal.  And when I was given the opportunity to submit my Master thesis to some journals for publication, I jumped on it. As a result of it, my thesis was published in two different journals.

In your experience, perhaps one way to establish yourself as being “successful” is that you must be part of an elite group.  That elite group can be in the form of being a privilege banking customer or perhaps that selected few who are invited to join a particular community.  In your environment, perhaps it is about the kind of your cars that you drive, the type of watch you wear, or even the type of clothes you wear!

Regardless of what these rules of expectations come from, these are the ones you used to judge whether or not you are successful.  Some of these expectations may be accurate, but others may be flawed or outright wrong!

This, however, lead to another set of issues.  As Anthony Robbins put it, if your current life conditions do not meet your expectations; then you will feel that you are not successful.  However, if your current life conditions meet or even exceed your expectations, then it is most likely that you would say that you are successful.

Some of our expectations in life are just so heavy and we have been carrying those burdens around for so long that we become tired.  However, in order to keep up with those expectations, we have to work even harder, which in turn lead to more exhaustion.

So how do we stop this vicious cycle?

The very first step is awareness.  Are you aware about what are your expectations for you to feel successful in life?  Bearing in mind that “success” is a mind-set, it is a set of feelings.  It is not the material possessions nor is it simply an endorsement of what other people say.  Many people can have all the material possessions that some of us can only dream of, and yet if you’d ask them, it is possible that they will not say that they are successful!

So, let’s begin with this simple exercise by answering some of these questions:

  • What does it take for me to feel successful?  You can do this in different areas of your life, for instance, you can see it in various context such as: spiritual, physical, financial, family, professional.  Notice that the rules of expectations in one context can and will be different from that of another.
  • Where do these rules come from?  Like we’ve discussed above, these rules can come from your educational background, or from your previous experiences in life, or perhaps it is your environment or cultural background that these rules are the accepted norms.
  • Have any of these rules made it extremely difficult for you to feel successful?  At this point, you will have to ask if these rules are empowering you or are they limiting you.  If these rules are limiting you, if they are scaring you, if they are intimidating you and preventing you from taking any form of action to bring yourself closer to the goals, then you ought to really re-examine these rules and see how you can change it, so that it will empower you.

Father I thank You for lightening our burdens and giving us rest in the spiritual sense.  LORD, please help us re-examine these rules through Your lens, so that we can be empowered to take the necessary actions to work towards the purpose that You have given us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.