Rebels can be extremely motivated, disciplined and driven. This motivation is somewhat unpredictable: it comes and goes without a warning. How to handle this and ensure consistent and predictable progress? As a rebel myself, I can share a few ideas. For more reading see here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Who are those rebels?
Suppose you try to acquire a new habit. You promise to yourself and start writing a diary. However, you find every possible way not to proceed with the habit. So you find someone who will be your sponsor and promise him to perform. Yet the more he tries to help you, the less likely you are to follow. Probably you are a rebel.
Consider you are trying to do something and get a set of rules. You ask for the reasoning behind the rules and are told that nobody knows. The rules do not interfere with your plans or make your life uncomfortable. Yet you feel strangely incapable of following these rules. You might be a rebel.
Every normal teenager is probably a rebel.
I think perfect rebels are very rare, yet most of us are rebels in some areas of our lives.
What motivates the rebellion?
The rebels are typically strongly motivated by self-expression. They usually want their actions to be unique and meaningful, like dance, art or music. In their own eyes, the rebels tend to feel special and different.
Following the rules means being like everybody else. This is just the opposite of what the rebels desire. They might not admit it themselves, but even when they follow rules they try to do this differently, in a way that defines them. I have seen fashion-aware people wearing ugly uniforms. They always accessorized their looks.
Can a rebel be disciplined?
Rebels tend to be very disciplined, as long as they choose what to do and this choice is meaningful. Trying to do something simply because there is an arbitrary rule will probably fail. To follow the rules, the rebel should understand and accept the reasoning behind the rules and agree with that reasoning. Alternatively, there should be something incredibly cool associated with the actions.
Quite often the discipline of a rebel will seem a bit strange and selective. The rebels tend to go into the “flow” state more than other people. They may forget to look after their hygiene and become hyper-focused on something they feel other people do not understand. Occasionally they will try to express themselves and talk too much to people who did not ask for the information. They will work more than most people around, simply because their job is meaningful.
What happens to the rebels that win?
Not following the rules, and choosing different ways to do similar things are signs of creativity. Rebels tend to be very creative. If they find their work meaningful, they have extremely high work ethics and often find brilliant solutions. When they express themselves they can be somewhat extraordinary and magical. They are not afraid to take risks. Eventually, the rebels win.
A rebel who wins does not stop being a rebel, only this time he is also the authority figure. The contradiction can be comical or grotesque, and many boundaries can disappear. It is quite common for rebels to challenge themselves and create the next great thing even at the risk of cannibalizing the previous success.
Even the way the rebels consume is somewhat different, as they either do not notice their possessions or try to acquire unique items and experiences.
Why is it important to know if you or someone close to you is a rebel?
The rebels often have strange issues and the expectation should be adjusted accordingly. Rebels need meaning, and they will not do something simply because they are told to. Material possessions do not make them happy. They will fiercely protect their uniqueness when faced with bureaucratic organizations. Quite often they will prosper in bureaucratic organizations because they will know and use every loophole available. They will actively reach out and will not take no for an answer.
It is always hard to generate a meaningful role for someone, especially for yourself. Even harder, as the understanding of what is meaningful is such a personal thing.
Many rebels obsessively learn as knowledge allows to find meaning and better ways of expressing yourself in ambiguous situations. Rebels will want a clear understanding of the situation, and a set of alternatives to choose from.
Finding happiness as a rebel
Doing something because it is cool, is the best way to describe the rebel’s happiness. It is more than simple convenience, it is identifying who you are with what you do. Smart rebels will transform anything they do into a form of art, and this art will be the ultimate source of their life force and happiness.