Okay, to get this out of the way right now, we’re not here to advocate for inciting chaos or anarchy in any regard. But let’s look at the fact that people who break the rules are the people who tend to get stuff done. And of all the rule-breakers in the world, you won’t find many who fit the mold more perfectly than Fight Club’s Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt).
Openly defiant in almost every regard, from societal norms to fashion, Tyler was a beacon to all those who try to be different. Tyler not only wanted to shake off the conventions of society, but to re-write the rules as he saw fit. For all those moments when you need to break the rules to get things done, let these Tyler Durden quotes help show you the way.
“F*ck off with your sofa units and string bean stripe patterns. I say never be complete.”
It doesn’t take long before Tyler lets the film’s Narrator (Ed Norton) know that he has an unconventional outlook on life. He sees the world around him as full of drones, toiling nonstop to make ends meet, while they scrounge and save for the perfect piece of furniture to compliment their wallpaper.
Obviously, Tyler rejects all these ideals outright. Should you see being complete as little more than a pre-conceived notion meant to distract from the hollow existence of day-to-day life, Tyler’s message will no doubt speak to you.
“People do it everyday, they talk to themselves, they see themselves as they’d like to be. They don’t have the courage you have, to just run with it.”
Let’s be honest here: everyone indulges in moments where you openly deviate from society’s norms. Maybe you talk to yourself, doodle endlessly in the margins of your spreadsheets, or fantasize about racing hovercrafts across the Alkali Flats during a conference call. While those things are generally frowned upon, there’s no question that Tyler would applaud your efforts.
Granted, he happens to be the projected fantasy of the Narrator himself, but that’s beside the point. You should indulge your creative urges, color outside the lines, and take the time to stop and imagine a better world — especially if it helps inspire you to change the one you’re living in.
“We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no great war. No great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives.”
Part of what allows Tyler’s words to resonate is how he speaks to his target audience. An entire generation lost and without purpose, working too many hours and swimming in debt, with their only relief coming when they gather together in the dank basement of a bar to help exorcise their mutual frustrations together.
It’s natural that you might lament your place in the world from time to time. But it doesn’t have to take a rule-breaker like Tyler to give you a cause to rally behind. Make your cause happiness and be a little selfish. If nothingness is everywhere, then make feeling good everything, ya know?
“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f*cking khakis.”
If you had to boil down Tyler’s philosophy into a single quote, this would be a top contender. In a society regulated by mundane clock-punching, Tyler simply refused to see it that way. He was eager to redefine a person’s self-worth outside of their wardrobe or some numbers at the bottom of a bank statement. Of course, you don’t have to conform to that standard. It’s up to you and you alone to redefine who you are by what you think, how you communicate, and what you create.
“Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.”
This not only echoes Tyler’s repeated sentiments about materialism, but it even reads like part of his manifesto (for obvious reasons). But it’s his curtness about our basic assumptions that cuts right to the heart of his idealism.
Breaking rules is more than a series of actions, it’s a state of mind. And if you really want to commit yourself to a defiant, outside-the-box lifestyle, you can’t just think like a rule-breaker, you’ve got to act like one, too.
“You wanna make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs.”
What may come off as little more than a cliched sentiment (which it is), is also the inevitable result of a rule-breaker’s way of thinking. Being defiant will inevitably have consequences, so it’s important to carefully balance that out against the kind of experience you’ll be getting in return. And don’t do anything ridiculous like trash a franchise coffee shop. No good will come of that.
“I want you to hit me as hard as you can.”
Of course, nothing was more blatantly Tyler Durden than this simple request that he makes to the Narrator outside Lou’s Tavern. Out of all the rules you’ve been told throughout your life, not starting a fight (particularly for no reason) was always at the top, which is what makes it one that Tyler’s so determined to break.
Again, we’re not condoning any sort of violence of any sort, but his desire to not die without any scars speaks to a larger ideal of accruing as many life experiences as you can. After all, calling life’s norms into question and throwing caution to the wind can go a long way toward broadening your horizons and being the rule-breaking individualist you’ve always imagined.