Today, I am witnessing an explosion of entrepreneurship in India. There is an unparalleled amount of enthusiasm to becoming an entrepreneur. I feel that is one of the beautiful things about entrepreneurship- it can be embraced by people from all walks of life, at any time of their lives.
I am often asked about what the characteristics of entrepreneurs are. There are so many varied traits that come to my mind, I don’t know which one to mention first. In no particular order, I answer entrepreneurs are risk-takers, they are wise, risk-taking and convert their ideas from theory to practice, they have the ability to convert potential customers into long-term customers, they are their own bosses and definitely, they are the hubs for unconventional ideas.
But often those statements do not do entrepreneurs justice- there is one major trait that I have observed that I do not find people discussing or accepting as a fact in totality.
Entrepreneurs do succeed by breaking common beliefs. Companies do succeed by breaking rules.
I know what you’re thinking- breaking rules? That’s not RIGHT.
What Do You Mean By Breaking Rules?
What are rules? In their essence, Rules are put into place so that there is no chaos. Rules are put into action so that there is peace. Rules ensure everyone plays fair and everyone is dealt with even-handedly. We might complain and complain, but rules do keep processes, classrooms and workplaces under a sort of ‘control’.
If you follow the rules, there are lesser chances that you will stumble during your journey and fall deep into trouble. Rules will lessen the number of unorthodox thinkers. If you follow rules, you will not gain opposition or enemies and at the worst- fail.
So, let me re-phrase that for you- ‘rules are limits.’
“There is Nothing Wrong About Breaking Rules”: Sachin Mittal
As an entrepreneur, I am inspired by Sam Walton’s number one rule: Break all the rules. As a matter of fact, the Dalai Lama seconds breaking rules! “Learn the rules so you can break them fast.”, words of the Dalai Lama from his golden ‘Eighteen Rules of Living’. Living by these eighteen rules, you are guaranteed to satisfy your thirst for life.
So, are you picking up on the same pattern that I did? There is nothing wrong about “breaking rules”. Breaking rules do not imply doing something against the code of law, but it does imply breaking free from existing societal conventions and doing the unconventional. Personally, breaking rules makes me feel alive!
Companies following the same rules, work and operate the same way and eventually, fail the same way.
The Question That Leads To Breaking Rules – “Why?”
If you have a tendency to venture off the beaten track and break rules, it means you suffer from the ‘Why’ syndrome. I believe it is healthy to keep the ‘Why’ alive in you. But why, you ask? It is simply because if there was no one to stop, think, and question the ‘authority’, then we would become slaves to ‘authority’. We would live mechanically and always follow instructions and existing norms of society blindfolded- without verifying whether it is sensible, right or wrong. It takes a confident individual ask these outrageous questions!
My Favorite Company That Broke The Rules: Sachin Mittal
While it is nice to derive what leads to breaking rules, the proof is in the pudding.
E-books? A soft copy for readers? You mean staring into a screen to read? You mean flipping virtual pages? Yes, you got that right. Amazon broke the rules and revolutionized reading books forever. It is because Amazon dared to diversify their single website to become a platform for multiple genres of goods, that other companies are following the same model. Today, an individual can order fresh oranges and an Apple iPhone 6 Plus in the same order and checkout seamlessly. It is my favorite example of successful companies that succeeded by breaking the rules.
While it is important for entrepreneurs to break rules, we must remember to take responsibility for our actions. To make an impact in the longer run, do something out of the ordinary! Some rules are worth breaking, right?