Loopholing: Seeing the Options Between the Rules

Loopholes—they keep lawyers employed, the rich out of jail, and all of us on our toes. An omitted clause that negates the spirit of the law.  A line that can be read in a dozen different and correct ways. An action that is not explicitly forbidden, and is thus allowed. These are opportunities—and not just for the sneaky or the nefarious.

Loopholes are part of the landscape.
Loopholes exist because it’s impossible for rule-writers to foresee every reaction and interpretation of their laws. Loopholes are neither good nor bad—they simply are. It’s what we do with them that defines their quality.

Loopholes make big things possible.
Change agents, programmers, artists, and entrepreneurs all work inside and with loopholes. After all, their livelihoods are built around finding ways to invent and rules impose order, not further progress. You want to do something novel or different? You need to know how to jump through loopholes, not hoops.

Don’t confuse what’s mandatory with what is merely expected.
“Go to college and you can get yourself a desk job.” That might be expected, but it’s not mandatory, and it isn’t even universally true anymore. Women (not so very long ago) were expected to quit work and stay home as soon as they were married. Not living up to (or down to, if you like) society’s unhelpful expectations is a great way to change them.

Hack the formulas: go off label.
Doctors know that a drug designed to treat one problem often solves another. For example: prescribing hemorrhoid cream to help heal a burn. Use the tools and ideas at your disposal to solve problems they’re not intended to solve. Your skills and experiences have more applications than you might think. What you think is a pair of tweezers might just be a Swiss Army Knife.

Been there. Done that. Read the guidebook.
The smaller your aim, the more rules will exist for you to play by. The bigger your goals, the fewer guidelines you’ll have to work with (or strain against).

Here’s a hint: if you’re looking for step-by-step instructions on how to build something—be it a table or a career—then your final product will be nothing special. There is no set of instructions on how to create something extraordinary.


By Jessica Hagy – Check out her page here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.