What Rules Are You Going to Break in 2018?


Now, before we begin, let me be clear. I’m not suggesting you break the law. As if someone from Australia, a country built by criminals whose national hero is the outlaw Ned Kelly, would suggest that :)


No, I’m suggesting you question the rules, and if you need to, consider breaking them.

Let me give you an example of a rule I broke a few years ago.

My friend Steve Satterwhite had invited Margo and I to join his Enteligence team at the Pedegral, a spectacular hotel on the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico.

From the moment we arrived, all I could think about was taking a dip down at the, strangely deserted, beach out front of the hotel. I was actually staring at the ocean as we checked in, when the woman behind the desk said something that ate away at me for the next two days.

“Please be advised that there is no swimming at the beach.”


“It is the Pacific Ocean señor, it is very dangerous to enter the water; so we ask that you don’t do it.”


Here’s the thing:

  • I’ve swum in oceans all over the world.
  • I grew up swimming in the ocean along Australia’s “surf coast”, home of the infamous Bell’s Beach. Yeah, the one from Point Break.
  • I know a dangerous ocean when I see one, and this simply, wasn’t.

But still, “no swimming at the beach”. It was a rule. I watched that ocean for two days, trying to spot the danger that apparently lay in wait; doubting myself, until eventually I decided:

“Screw the rules. I’m going in”.

I’ll spare you all the details, suffice to say it must have been quite a sight to see a guy with no legs shuffle quickly on his backside towards the crashing waves; a shrill whistle being blown urgently by some poor guy…

For ten minutes I swam, his whistle going the whole time, and guess what?

Nobody died. Nobody got swept out to sea. A guy took a swim; in the ocean; the way people have been swimming in the ocean for thousands of years.

I know someone out there (maybe you) right now is thinking “Well that was just reckless. That was irresponsible. You set a bad example for any kids that might have seen you go in”.

Maybe. Or, perhaps I set a good example…

Scenario One:

If little Johnny has grown up swimming in a life jacket until he’s ten years old to make sure his face never goes in the water, then yes, little Johnny has no business being in the Pacific Ocean. It doesn’t matter that Johnny’s twenty-four now; doesn’t matter how many margarita’s he’s had at the swim up bar; he’s got no business being in that body of water.

Scenario two:

Little Jodie. She’s ten years old the day she sees me swim at the Pedegral, and asks her Dad “Why can’t I swim out there?”

“You could, but you’d need to be a really good swimmer, a really strong swimmer”.

“Do you think I could be a strong swimmer?”

“You could, but you’ll have to practice a lot. You’ll have to practice so that you’re not scared to go to the deep end of the pool; so you can move away from the edge and know that you’ll be OK. Then you’ll have to swim lots of laps so that you know you won’t get tired if you have to swim for a long time in water like that ocean out there. You’ll have to spend lots of time in the water so that you’re not scared of it, because the biggest reason people get into trouble in the water is because they’re scared of it; they panic. Do you think you can learn to not be scared of the water?”

“I do, will you teach me?”….

I know which of these two worlds I’d rather live in, and I’m prepared to break a few rules to get there.

How about you?

What kind of world do you want to live in?

What rules will you break in 2018 to get there?

    Archived Comments


    1. martin kelly says:

      January 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Warren, thanks for this story.

      I had a similar “rule-breaking” experience in Los Cabos ( BIG “No Nadar” sign); and while a pretty good swimmer, did feel the “tug” of a rip current. To your point, while the confidence I had got me into a bit of trouble, it also allowed me to not panic, and reach the shore.

      Glad I “broke the rule”.




      • Warren Macdonald says:

        January 25, 2018 at 10:49 am

        The “tug” of a rip current; love it
        Rule number one in the water, “don’t panic” seems to have held you in good stead on that occasion.
        Thanks for taking the time to write.


    2. Carmie says:

      January 17, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks Warren. Enjoy your stories.
      They always give me an extra boost to start my day
      Cheers Carmie


      • Warren Macdonald says:

        January 25, 2018 at 10:50 am

        Thanks Carmie; glad you liked it!

      • Wanda says:

        January 17, 2018 at 3:48 pm

        I love that you always make me think, this time that maybe I’ve set up “rules” FOR MYSELF that I need to reconsider if they are good or need to go!


      • David says:

        January 17, 2018 at 9:26 pm

        Keep swimming Warren!! Just been to Bell’s for a week! It hasnt changed!


      • Nancy says:

        January 21, 2018 at 5:18 pm

        Thanks so much for sharing Warren! Funny I was just in Cabo for the first time this Christmas. Your story will inspire me to look at daily life through a different lens to challenge myself in 2018.


        • Warren Macdonald says:

          January 25, 2018 at 10:47 am

          Thanks Nancy for writing! And yes, 2018 is a great year to throw down some challenges; perhaps even break/ bend a rule or two 

        • Mary HH says:

          January 26, 2018 at 8:47 pm

          LOVE this piece!! I’ve been breaking rules all my life and sometimes even getting away with it. lol. A funny example: My cousin Natalie got married to her fabulous husband Drew some 15? years ago. They now have 3 great kids, so it was a good match. But, at the wedding, Nats tried to be the controlling bride who didn’t want anyone saying anything out of turn so said: “There will be no dinging of glasses for us to kiss, unless you sing a song with the names “NATALIE &/ or DREW” in it”. Immediately a groan went out among the guests. Except me: I went up and sang: “Happy Birthday to you…happy birthday to you… happy birthday dear Natalie…” Well, you get the picture. She sent me daggers with her eyes, but everyone then got pretty creative with what they would sing. Yeah, they had to work a bit, so she didn’t have TOO many songs, but there was just enough shenanigans in the wedding. Oh, and speaking about weddings… we broke the rule and didn’t use a limo when we got married, we had a double decker bus instead. Same price… more time… more friends and family could fit. lol.


        • Warren Macdonald says:

          January 31, 2018 at 3:52 pm

          Love it Mary!
          Did I mention it’s more fun when we bend/ break the rules