I rebel, therefore I exist,” said Albert Camus.

Questioning the rules and refusing to accept clichés allows people to leave behind the grey area of passive resignation and the swamp of mediocrity, asserting their individuality.

It is a positive and profitable attitude that can stimulate intelligence and lead to professional success, helping people to stand out from the crowd and spurring them on to give their utmost at all times, ceaselessly striving for more.

 

The features of a rebel talent

According to Francesca Gino, a professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School in Boston and author of the book “Rebel Talent”, rebellion should be seen as the greatest form of creativity: it means never settling for the regular way of doing things, but instead always preserving a fresh spirit and an ingenuous outlook that is unprejudiced and full of curiosity and a desire to experiment.

A key idea is that of the beginner’s mind: the approach taken by those who do not convince themselves that they already know everything and endeavour to create something new by questioning themselves every day, despite the experience that they have built up in their fields.

How can you recognize – or become – a ground-breaking outsider? Rebel talents can be summed up as follows:

  • They are brave and unafraid to make mistakes, because errors play a part in our experience.
  • They question accepted customs and ask themselves if there are new ways to go about things.
  • They are open to innovation.
  • They break the rules that hinder individual and group freedom.
  • They adopt a curious, creative approach, acting like beginners.

 

Excelling at work through rebellion

If you really want to stand out, do not be afraid to break the rules.

Strictly sticking to standards may seem like a way of showing that you are dutiful and responsible, but in the long term it can develop into a habit that you use to avoid difficulties.

Every obstacle presents a chance to make a positive change, so it goes without saying that you will miss out on opportunities if you never stray from the clichéd path.

If you want rebellion to help you on the road to success, you need to be open to novelty and creativity.

Follow the lead of leading chef Massimo Bottura, the icon of constructive nonconformity. He swept away the conventions of traditional cuisine and revolutionized an entire industry. How did he go about it? He is always inquisitive, thinks outside the box and performs a number of roles: although he has three Michelin stars, he often does the more mundane tasks, such as sweeping outside the door of his restaurant and unloading supplies from trucks.

In addition, opt for original solutions, including during emergencies: when faced with the standard approach, ask yourself if there are unconventional paths that could bring about better results. An example to follow is provided by Captain Chesley Sullenberger. When the engines of the aeroplane that he was flying were disabled, air traffic controllers told him to head to the nearest airport but instead he chose to ditch in the Hudson River. It was later found that he would never have got to the airport due to the seriousness of the damage. His rebellious act based on courage and intuition enabled him to save the lives of 155 passengers.

Just one word of warning: rebelling is not about saying “no”. It is always essential to offer a constructive alternative solution, listen to the opinions of others and be prepared to discuss matters. Promote diversity by giving everyone a shared goal: it is the only way to ensure that rebellion drives success rather than revolving around disputes for their own sake.