Rebel Talent — Why it pays to break the rules at work and in life By Francesca Gino

{The above video links to YouTube and provides the book review as well}

Are you feeling vibrant and energetic today? Right now, do you feel like it were Christmas or any of your favorite festival? Do you feel so good every single day? If not, its time to take a step back and reflect. Its time to be more “Engaged” in your life, in your relationship, at your work. “Engagement means fully occupied or having your full attention” as the site defines it. What does it take one to be fully engaged? The answer to this is being a Rebel.

My Notes:

Who is a Rebel?

Rebels are people who are deviants in various fields, but in a positive and constructive. They challenge the established norms and do things that make them different from the crowd. A Rebel is not somebody who has to break the law and get in legal trouble. It is a person who is fully engaged in their relationships, in their lives, in the work that they are doing, because they have certain character traits that they have cultivated that enable them to be rebels.

These are the Five Talents that Rebels have cultivated. I say cultivated because, we can all cultivate these Talents and nobody is perhaps born with these talents.


We would normally associate working at a Fast Food joint to be monotonous. Not exactly at Pal’s, a Fast Food chain that keeps routine at bay and thus makes an attempt to keep their employees engaged and happy. What do they do?
Not until the employees arrive at work for their shifts do they learn the order in which they’ll move through the stations. Monday maybe making shakes, followed by French Fries. Tuesdays it maybe biscuit production and order delivery. As a result, the workers are less likely to move on auto pilot mode and feel more engaged.
Novelty is a stimulant. There is room for variety even in he most rote job, as Pal’s demonstrates!

Novelty increases our job satisfaction, our creativity and our overall performance. It also increases how much we grow in both confidence and ability. When we engage in novel activities and acquire new skills, our sense of who we are expands as does the number of traits to describe who we are are thus increasing our confidence that we can accomplish our goals even when we are outside our comfort zone.

Look carefully around you. What Routines and Traditions do you see? Are these endured out of routine or thoughtful deliberation? Seeking novel experiences is what makes us travel the globe, explore new cities and country sides, learn about different cultures.


Curiosity is a way of being rebellious in the world. Rebels fight their fears and are willing to push past the discomfort of showing others that they need their help. Rebels hold on to childlike curiosity and they never stop asking why.

Curiosity makes us much more likely to view tough problems at work as an interesting challenge to take on. A stressful meeting with our boss becomes an opportunity to learn. In general it motivates us to view stressful situations as challenges rather than threats and try new approaches to solve problems. Curiosity translates to greater engagement with others thanks to exploratory behavior and learning it inspires.


“Brace for Impact” — The dreaded words nobody wants to hear while on an aircraft. And these are the words, that the passengers on the Flight that took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York, heard on a January 2009 noon.
Both the engines were knocked out from bird hits, the Aeroplane was barely 3000 feet in the air and rapidly loosing altitude. With all the conventional options exhausted, what ‘could’ the Captain and his Co-Pilot do?

The Hudson River, is long enough, wide enough and smooth enough to serve as a landing spot for an Aircraft.
That’s perspective! And it is this perspective, from the heroic Captain Sully with help from his first officer Jeff Skiles, that perhaps saved the lives of 150 passengers on board this flight.

Captain Sully is a person with a Perspective. Despite flying for 42 years prior to that incident, he treated everyday on the job as an opportunity to learn something new. He never became complacent about his skills. There is a very touching documentary on this incident. Check out the YouTube Video below.

When the Titanic hit the iceberg, instead of diverting the ship away from the iceberg after the collision, would the perspective of an iceberg being a horizontal, flat space, where people could wait before rescue boats arrived, saved more lives? Check this fantastic short video:

How could you alter your perspective? What ‘could’ you do?


One of the best videos on how at perhaps an early age we tend to Stereotype and the role parents can play:

What stereotypes do you hold that dictates your thinking and behavior towards people who are different than you are?
Rebels realize that stereotypes are blinding and that fighting the tendency to stereotype produces a clearer picture of reality and a competitive advantage. They do not thoughtlessly accept the social roles and attitudes that society promotes. When we are not careful, stereotypes act like firewalls, blocking new information from penetrating our thoughts and preventing us from changing our minds unless something truly dramatic happens.


We all hesitate before making ourselves vulnerable, fearful of being judged by others, but these worries are usually misplaced. Opening up wins us trust perhaps even more so when it involves showing weaknesses

We are always looking for ways to hide, whether by covering up aspects of our personality, keeping our emotions to ourselves or concealing our fears and flaws. But vulnerability helps us create stronger connections with others.

To connect, we try our best to appear perfect, strong, intelligent and polished, without realizing that this strategy often has the opposite effect. Authenticity gives us the courage, energy and confidence we need to rebound from negative experiences. Part of freedom is expressing oneself honestly. Even pretending to be happy can take a toll.

Rebellion is an approach to life and work that we can all embrace. Rule breaking does not have to get us into trouble, if done correctly and in the right doses, it can help us get ahead.

A truly delightful collection of stories and lessons from those stories, this book brings alive! A great one to have in my library of books!

What kind of Rebel are you? Take the Rebel Test Here:

My other top 3 most popular articles that Readers have appreciated and may be valuable learning to you too are:

I love the profession of Product Management that helps me build meaningful relationships with teams and customers. I just can’t get enough of reading!

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