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Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love and Life by Margie Warrell

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—Chapter 46—

It's a well-worn saying that rules are meant to be broken. Not all the time and not every time. Rules do, of course, serve a purpose. They bring structure to our lives and order to our society. However, like all things in life, blindly doing something because we're told we ‘should' and not because we can see how it genuinely makes sense or serves us and the world at large, is never a good reason to do it. Which is why, as useful as rules can be, there are times we need to have the courage to break them.

One of my favourite rule breakers is Rosa Parks who, by daring to break the rules, set off a movement that changed a nation. On 1 December 1955, Rosa, a 42-year-old African-American seamstress, boarded a Montgomery City bus to go home from work. She sat near the middle of the bus, just behind the 10 seats reserved for white people. Soon all of the seats in the bus were filled. When a white man got on the bus, the driver (following the standard practice of segregation) insisted that all four African-Americans sitting just behind the white section give up their seats so that the man could sit there. In a moment that would live forever in history, Rosa made a snap decision to defy the rules. That one act of courageous rebellion — not just against the rules of her society at the time, but the rules of the land — triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which spearheaded ...

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