Podcast: Vishen’s Brules

Podcast: Vishen’s Brules

Podcast Episode #11 Vishen’s Brules

I want to talk about what my pal Vishen Lakhiani call BRULES.

Now, you may hear a few things on this one that may offend you and that is ok.  How we react to certain things may not actually be how we react to them, it is the way we have been taught to react to them.  Oh, guess what, I just partly told you what a brule is.

BRULES are what we will now refer to as bullshit rules.  Rules that have been passed down from generation to generation and are what much of the rules of the world are based on.


As Vishen says in his book The Code of The Extraordinary Mind:

“…our beliefs about the world—are nothing more than mental constructs we’ve chosen to believe.  And like all mental constructs, many are merely opinions we believe because they were drilled into us a children and accepted by the culture we grew up in.”

Many of these beliefs that we look at as truth can fall apart once we look closer at them and question them.

As we have seen a lot on social media, many people tend to post something and accept it as truth without actually questioning (and I have done this in the past, so don’t think I am looking down on people for doing it.  This is a practice that has changed for me!).

Consumer Psychologist Paul Marsden, PhD wrote a paper called “Memetics and Social Contagion” and in it he said:

“…we may like to believe that we consciously and rationally decide on how to respond to situations, social contagion evidence suggests that that some of the time this is simply not the case.”

He goes on to say:

“The evidence shows that we inherit and transmit behaviours, emotions, beliefs, and religions not through rational choice but contagion.”

What is he saying?  To me he is saying that when we make decisions we are more likely to defer to the masses than to make a decision based on our own thoughts and best interests.  Mob mentality.

We think we are making a rational decision but in reality the decision has little to do with rationality and more to do with ideas our family, culture, and peers have approved.

Many of the rules that we have about how to live come through others, and these rules are bound to the ideas of what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong.  Kids follow their parents, who followed their parents, and so on.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There is a difference between a brule and law.  Laws are in place in order to keep us growing as a society (well, most of them, but that’s neither here nor there right now).

That being said, when it comes to brules you must question your rules constantly in order to live by the code that is most authentic to your goals and needs.

Just doing something because ‘we have always done it that way’ is not an acceptable argument.

What are some examples of brules?  How about a woman’s right to vote?  Were it not for the courage of the members of the Equality League of Enfranchisement of Women in 1915, who challenged the brule of only men voting, would it still be this way today?

How about Agnes MacPhail?  Canada’s first female member of parliament (and distant relative of mine).  

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, who is considered the mother of the freedom movement.

There is Salman Kahn, not the actor of the same name, but the person who disrupted education when he saw a flaw in math taught at school that there was no guarantee that every student would understand every principle and would leave many students without the fundamental building blocks for their understanding of math.  He ended up creating what is now known as The Kahn Academy.

I could go on and on about brules, but I won’t.  Let’s just say that as a society we have rules that are put into place that are there for a reason, such as not allowing a seven year old child to smoke cigarettes.  However, there are other rules that are put in place that we should really question as being valid. 

Is it absolutely necessary that we saddle down students with massive debt for decades by telling them a college education is the only way to get ahead in life?  Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of ‘people operations’ doesn’t think that college degrees are as important now as they once were.  He states, “When you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings.  And we should do everything we can to find those people.”  On that note, in 2018 Google, Apple, IBM and others no longer require employees to have a college degree. 

Should we only practice one religion? (Yes, I mentioned and will talk about religion).  Religion has immense beauty.  It can also have immense dogma that causes guilt, shame, and fear-based world views.  Why can’t people be looked at as “Spiritual but not religious”?  Religion was necessary for human evolution, helping us develop guidelines for good moral conduct and cooperation within our tribe hundreds and thousands of years ago.  Nowadays, we are more connected than ever and many of us have access to the various wisdom and spiritual traditions of the world.  Why can’t we choose beliefs from the entire pantheon of global religions and spiritual practices?  Why must we have to pick one religion?  Why can’t we believe in Jesus’ model of love and kindness, the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, and also think that reincarnation is awesome?

There is so much beauty in the teachings of Christ, the Sufism of Islam, the Kabbalah from Judaism, the wisdom of Bhagavad Gita, or the Buddhist teachings of the Dalai Lama.  However, humanity has decided that religion should be absolutist, or so to say, pick one and stick to it for the rest of your life.  And worse, pass it on to your children through early indoctrination, so they feel that they have to stick to one path for the rest of their lives.  Then, repeat it for generations.

Your spirituality should be discovered, not inherited.

How about working hard to be successful?  The brule pretty much tells that if we aren’t working hard all the time we are lazy and won’t be successful.  Well, when you aren’t suffering for your paycheck you are likely to be more engaged and committed to what you are doing.  People don’t quit jobs they love.  It does not make sense to spend the majority of our waking hours at work, to earn a living, so we can continue living a life where we spend the majority of our waking hours at work.  It is a human hamster wheel.  Therefore, always seek work you love.

I will leave this topic with a quote from L.P. Jacks, and English educator:

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labour and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation.  He hardly knows which is which.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leave others to determine whether he is working or playing.  To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

How are you going to draw a line?

Do you have a line of distinction between work and play?

What brule are you going to challenge?

Thanks for listening, and as always, if you have any comments reach out to me on social media, FB, Twitter, Linkedin and IG at wrightwealthfs.  I would love to hear about some of the brules you would like to challenge.

And, make it a great day, unless you have other plans.

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