My favorite movie as a kid was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ferris knew how to get around the rules. He was smart enough to just take a day off and have some FUN. In life, there are lots of other people who can be described as rule breakers, people who have done far greater things than Ferris Bueller (although his cinematic legacy will always live on in my heart). In the words of Steve Jobs:
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.
Humans evolve because a few (not the majority) of people think: Hey, these rules aren’t fair. And they usually get called “crazy” by the majority and promptly arrested, or worse. Until time passes, when there is a tipping point and everyone adopts their idea and says: Wow, we really should have been doing this all along! What a genius!!
Some of my favorite visionary rule-breakers who were ahead of their time:
Nelson Mandela. He wanted to abolish apartheid (a system of blatant racism in South Africa) and was imprisoned for sabotage. Now, he’s known for being the first black president of South Africa, peacefully ending apartheid and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Jesus. He said it was unfair for wealthy merchants to hoard all the money and treat others like shit, so he invited everyone to follow him instead (the poor, sick, immigrants, anyone who was considered an outcast). He said they all deserved to be included. And then, the people in power hung him on a cross for challenging the status quo. Now, he’s Jesus Christ and he is (in theory) celebrated on a day called Christmas.
Rosa Parks. She refused to give up her seat for a white passenger and was arrested. She basically ended segregation on public transportation in 1956 (not that long ago!) Now, she’s an OutKast song. Just kidding, she’s an amazing civil rights activist who changed the world with her true and powerful action.
Galileo. He discovered that the Earth revolves around the Sun—and was locked up for it. Now, he’s been “pardoned” by a pope, only a short 350 years later. How kind!
Susan B. Anthony. She advocated for the rights of women and African Americans—and got arrested for voting. Now, women can vote because of her and the work she did to pass the 19th Amendment, along with her pal Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Notorious RBG. She finished law school with a baby and a husband with cancer, helped pass numerous laws to end gender discrimination, and serves on the Supreme Court, like a boss, with dissenting opinions that will surely go down in history. And she gets called all kinds of nasty names, but she does not skip a beat. She is on the right side of history and has done so much for Americans, especially women.
I love these people because they don’t give a flying f-word about the rules. They stand up for what they believe in. This world is changed by the people who are curious and courageous enough to actually do the things they are here to do, often despite the rules. That is easier said than done. Which is why it’s not always the popular thing to do 😉