Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
— Steve Jobs, 1997
To what extent does attitude play a role in creativity?
The most creative people are often the ones who have a hell-raiser trait in them, regardless of whether this comes from nature or nurture. These are the people who think different, feel different, behave different. These are the people who can’t easily fit into the square corporate box. They are rebels.
Organizations both value and despise them. Rebels non-rebels uncomfortable because they challenge thoughts, processes, and the status quo. They disrupt and dismiss. They push. They raise the bar for everyone else and they call people out. They’re not being difficult on purpose — they’re being themselves. They see things differently. And that comes with both opportunities and challenges.
Rebels create organizations and then the organizations they created reject them. You need a rebel to start something but after you reach escape velocity, complacency sets in. Rebels are ignored, dismissed, or put into a positions of failure.
Many people — especially those who are less secure about themselves — have a hard time working with people that push boundaries and challenge the way things are done. These people insulate themselves from the rebels, physically and mentally.
As complacency is eroded by competition and the relative position of the organization falls, the rebels once again rise.
Embrace the rebels. Hear them out. Not all of their ideas will be good but their perspective will be different. They will push you, challenge you, and if handled properly, ensure complacency is never the reason for failure.
While we’re talking about Steve Jobs, this is one of the most profound points he ever made.