Rules of Engagement 1


If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.
Paul of Tarsus A.D. 66


Imagine you’re in a stadium to see athletes compete for the hundred meter sprint. As the runners set themselves on track and get ready to run, you suddenly see a car pull up beside the runners on the track. The pistol is shot and the runners take off including the car. While you’re wondering what is going on, the car breasts the tape, the guy in the car comes out and starts rejoicing at winning the race. Just as you start laughing at the stupidity of the driver, you hear the announcement on the public address system “Ladies and gentlemen, the winner is …..” And it turns out to be the driver. You will cry foul, won’t you? The guy definitely did not compete by the rules. 

Every human engagement has a rule or set of rules that guide it. Before you can succeed in any engagement, you must play according to the rules. Whether we are talking about a relationship, a job interview, an athletic or sport competition, a business deal, a camping experience etc. Every interaction between two or more people over any network has ‘rules of engagement'.  

Imagine you enter the corporate headquarters of a multinational company and on getting to the receptionist she looks up at you and says “Why are you looking at me like you have never seen a girl before, what do want here?” I can comfortably assume that you will be taken aback. I may not be able to predict your next reaction but I don’t think it will be a smiling exchange. You are taken aback because there is an unspoken rule of engagement that you expect when you enter such an office.

More often than not, we fail in the endeavours we set out for, not because we lack skill or ability, but because we don’t bother to find out the rules that apply to the platform on which we wish to engage. You want to engage a sophisticated young lady? You must know how to talk and behave like a gentleman. If you want to succeed in an interview, you must know both the right answers, and the culture to present before your would be employer. If you want to write a book, you must know how to present your thoughts and how to articulate it in structure. Everything you wish to do has a rule that determines its success and you must know it.

The problem we often encounter in life is that nobody will stop you from competing even though you don’t know the rules but you can never have victory if you keep engaging without the rules. So you will keep failing the interview, getting embarrassed, losing the contracts, because there is something that you are not doing right.

Three very quick keys to help you with this

·          Realise there are rules for whatever you wish to do and that without applying them; you will most likely not succeed. Always ask yourself the question “what is the rule of engagement for this?” it may be simple, it may even be unspoken, but it’s always there.

·         Find someone who has made success in a field or endeavour you wish to engage in and find out what rule they applied. A lot of the times, we’re lost as to what we are doing wrong in a particular situation. When you can’t figure out what you are doing wrong, find a master and pick their brain and most likely something he will say will open your eyes to what you’re doing wrong.

·         Be observant. Quite often we stumble on successful engagement rules. Be observant to things you do unconsciously in certain situations that produce amazing results so you can reproduce them in similar situations.

Have a great week you ‘all!


picture courtesy of zole4/FreeDiditalPhotos.net 




Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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