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Freedom in Regimentation

Many of us think rules and guidelines as “medicine”. However, I believe these so-called rules and guidelines serve as an “antidote.” I prefer to look at them as a means to freedom rather than regimentation. Successful creative people may look at ‘rules’ as restrictions and attribute their success to breaking free of mundane rules. In such cases, I would suggest that this rule-breaking success is a result of sheer talent, context, and luck, rather than a deliberate disregard for rules/boundaries.

Two points are noteworthy with regards to rules and ‘restrictions’: one, most of us have our own rules/restrictions which we adhere to only when they suit our convenient conditionings and comfort zones. Two, whenever we work within such boundaries [of planning, timelines, review, accountability] even for creative pursuits, we are likely to be better off. The choice is between getting enslaved by ones indulgences and allowing them to self-inflict damages, or driving these instincts to our self-interest.

Edward de Bono’s brilliant book, ‘Creativity on Demand,’ points in that direction. While that book is written in the context of creativity in the corporate workplace, I believe such techniques can also be applied to the pure aesthetic world as well.

Without complicating the issue further, the point I want to make is pretty simple. Planning our days within a basic framework of rules and regulations [a rough sketch akin to a time-table], can give us an overall sense of freedom when pursuing our larger goals. In terms of one’s daily routine, the basic survival related activities, viz. when to wake up, what to eat, when to eat, how to exercise, how much to exercise etc etc, - if commoditized / regularized will take them into an auto pilot mode and let us focus all our mental energies in the realm of self actualization.

In this perspective, a timetable helps in that it allows us to conserve our energy for creative/’valuable’ activities. Otherwise, basic hygiene survival will take away all our energies, leaving us little time/energy to enrich ourselves.

This task based ‘regimentation or freedom’ – is a temporal plan and/or task based plan. For eg, when to wake up, when to eat, what to eat, what to work, when to sleep, when to read, when to write, when to exercise, how much to exercise, which exercises to undertake etc etc. It doesn’t require a nuanced, perceptive mind to track the deviations. The plan can be visible – maybe on excel or paper, and will allow us not only the opportunity to practice, but also to monitor and review our progress objectively. And in doing so, we can come face-to-face with the bitter pill of ourselves [not the satisfaction of the incorrectly smug self-image] – and if we demonstrate due wisdom, determination and self assurance, we are more likely to evolve to live and enjoy within the framework of that regimentation [nah! Freedom].

The task-based plan would have internal feedback loops to observe the deviations, forcing us to explore changes in the psychological realm. This can be the trigger to consciously dive deeply into our sub-conscious and gain the transcendental self knowledge as we observe the self. In the process, we will find ourselves resisting regimentation less and less; gaining the wisdom to identify what is in our self interest and gather the necessary inner urge to align our energies accordingly.

Interestingly, to enable ourselves to lead the change both within and the world around us with originality and ingenuity, we need to follow a specified framework. To avoid getting enslaved by the broader mores of live, we need to follow the smaller rules. To break free from the macro boundaries of life, we need to micro-manage ourselves diligently. That’s the inevitable dichotomy for us mere mortals to content and confront. Long term sustained self-interest vs immediate indulgence and gratification. Freedom vs. Regimentation.

February 20, 2011


  1. thanks to lara this post look lot less edgy compared to my normal unedited posts...certainly this reads far better than my first draft....thx lara for the edits...:)


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