The world is changing, and fast. Technology is speeding up the evolutionary process. And
I’m here to tell you a little rebellion in business goes a long way. Why? Because rebellion
constitutes you think outside the box, challenge popular thinking and move with the times.
Here are 5 reasons why being a rebel (with a good cause) can help you stay ahead of the
‘Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learnt in schools.’
Institutions are all well and good when you are starting out in life. They provide structure,
educate and form social tribes in which all humans instinctively wish to belong. But while
this creates community and unity it can also stifle creativity and cloud your ability to see
beyond the system.
Steve Jobs famously dropped out of college so he could stop taking the classes that didn’t
interest him and start dropping in to the ones that did. By creating his own pathway,
outside the traditional methods and social expectations, he went on to found Apple and
Pixar and leave an incredible mark on the world.
I am not suggesting you drop out of college. Education is a powerful tool, but don’t be
afraid to ask questions, be curious and explore new ideas as well as question old ones.
‘When you fall in love with the system, you lose the ability to grow.’
Who wants to be ordinary? Anyone get up and think to themselves, pour me a cup of
mediocrity this morning?! Nope, didn’t think so. I want to give you the encouragement to
be extra-ordinary and live beyond the limitations set in front of you.
In the movies, the hero traditionally goes on a journey. In their town they might be seen as
a bit of a rebel, a bad-ass if you will.
They are restless and unsatisfied with the way things are. Or, alternatively they are
completely defined and moulded by the system to the point they have stopped growing.
But whatever the hero’s starting point, they all have a quality that sets them apart from the
crowd: the desire or need to grow beyond the system in both character and skill. The
desire to challenge life is an act of rebellion that is inherent in most heroes.
‘I want to put a ding in the universe.’ Steve Jobs.
The more you grow and discover, the more you will want to challenge the status quo. This
is about re-thinking the old ways of doing things and inviting innovation and creativity to
take you ahead of the game.
Before Muhammed Ali, the average boxer had terrible footwork. But Ali found innovation in
the sport by challenging the traditional fighting methods.
He famously coined the catchphrase: ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.’ With quick,
dance-like footwork combined with sharp, powerful jabs he created a new style that
changed the face of boxing. Ali played the sport, but challenged the method. A master
class in how to rebel within the game to leverage your career.
‘Change isn’t made by asking permission. Change is made by asking forgiveness later.’
Seth Godin, Tribes
Most people like comfort and consistency. I know I do. Who wants change? Change is
inconvenient, uncomfortable and risky. But if you are an entrepreneur or leader you must
embrace change. And better yet anticipate change.
Rebels take risks. Educated risks, but risks all the same. The people who are paving the
way in business and technology are those who are already thinking ahead of the current
‘Odds are that growth and success are now inextricably linked to breaking the old rules
and setting your organization’s new rules loose in an industry too afraid to change.’
Seth Godin, Tribes
The rebel we are talking about isn’t rebelling to be difficult, instead he has seen an
opportunity. And where there is a gap in the market, there is a potential for success.
From William Wallace to Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs to Nelson Mandela, each of these
momentous figures rebelled against popular beliefs in order to incite change and shape
the future. Instead of looking at how the world was, they envisioned what the future could
Don’t get me wrong, rules are important. Respecting traditional models and having values
IS important. I’m not suggesting you march out of your house in your underpants and start
committing mindless acts of defiance. (THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEAN. PLEASE DON’T DO
Instead I am talking about a level of resistance towards traditional ways of doing things
with the intent of growth.
While others live within the confines of popular beliefs and limitations, the rebel strives to
live beyond the ordinary. He’s a rule breaker! An ass kicker (in the most positive way).
He’s not a rebel without a cause, he’s a rebel with a very GOOD cause. Because he is a
visionary who wants to initiate positive change and impact the world in a new way.
Now isn’t that some food for thought!
Jenny Garrett is the Award Winning Coach and founder of Reflexion Associates, a leadership and coaching consultancy. She’s also the author of Rocking Your Role, a how-to guide to success for female breadwinners.