People who rebel against the norm often share these 6 personality traits

We live in a society where obedience and conformity are encouraged–often to an excessive degree. 

We also live in a society where rebelliousness is frowned upon, where people who are willing to rock the boat are treated as outcasts. 

But in reality, the people who rebel against the norm have historically changed the world. 

They’re the revolutionaries, the resistance fighters, the truthtellers. 

Collectively, they’re the much-needed opposition to “the man” trying to control our lives.

So if anyone calls you a rebel, as long as you act for the right reasons, take that as a compliment. 

In this article, I’ll share the common traits of a rebellious personality. 

If you can identify with these qualities, you’re in a good place. 

Let’s get to it!

1) They’re highly independent 

While most people strive to blend in, to be compliant members of society, people who rebel tend to value their inherent independence and autonomy. 

They consistently acknowledge the fact that they’re their own independent person and act accordingly. 

They therefore often make decisions based on their principles rather than to fulfill society’s expectations of them. 

In a sense, they’re lone wolves in a society full of sheep, consistently self-sufficient, walking alone and doing their thing. 

Rebels celebrate their individuality, always standing out instead of simply fitting in. 

2) They keep an open mind

Rather than just blindly accepting the circumstances they’re given like everyone else, rebels will typically be open to new ideas and perspectives.

Often, this means discovering more efficient and superior ways of doing things. 

They don’t just stick to tradition just because that’s “the way things have always been done.” 

They question the status quo and challenge established norms and conventions, a practice that, by nature, will always upset a few people in the process. 

This brings to mind a quote by Nicholas Klein, a trade union activist, who said in a 1918 speech: “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.” 

Sounds about right. 

3) They tend to be creative 

Here’s the thing: a rebellious nature is often linked to creativity

Why? Because the rebellious mind thinks outside the box; it is not confined to a limited space. 

Hence, the rebel might have unique and imaginative approaches to self-expression, problem-solving, or both. 

Rebels are often curious people who want to explore unconventional ideas and alternative ways of thinking. 

They have the fortitude to challenge existing paradigms and investigate the unknown.

Think of your favorite writer, artist, or musician. Have someone in mind? 

Chances are, they have a rebellious, subversive streak within them to some degree. 

Had they just been satisfied with convention and thinking like everyone else, they would not have been in a position to produce such groundbreaking pieces of creativity. 

Being a writer, I’ve always looked up to the likes of Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, and Jack Kerouac–all rebels in their own special ways. 

4) They’re courageous 

Think Katniss Everdeen from the Hungry Games series or Robin Hood. 

They didn’t just sit back and accept the unjust societal circumstances they were given. 

They actively rebelled by standing up and challenging the powers that be, a practice that, let’s face it, requires courage and a thick skin. 

Most people want to play it safe, fearful of society’s criticism and backlash; something especially applicable in this digital, social media-dominant era, where hate can spread faster than wildfire. 

A willingness to take risks and stand up for one’s innate beliefs doesn’t just take rebelliousness, it takes courage and a high level of resilience too.  

One of my pop-culture heroes is the late great writer and TV host Anthony Bourdain

One of the things that made him truly stand out was that he was unashamedly rebellious.

Sure, he drank, smoked, and took drugs for a significant portion of his adulthood. 

But for me, that’s not what made him come across as avante-garde. 

For me, he was such an iconic figure because he constantly challenged the establishment and established ways of thinking, whether it was via his content on TV or his writing. 

In his show, Parts Unknown, for instance, rather than just devouring strange food for shock value like a lot of his contemporaries, he went in another direction. 

He used his far-reaching platform for something far more lofty: to enlighten the world about the plight and struggle of marginalized and misunderstood people everywhere. 

He shed light on the historical injustices of the world that remain rampant today. 

5) They’re non-conformist 

12 signs you have such a strong personality that people instantly respect you 2 People who rebel against the norm often share these 6 personality traits

As you know by now, non-conformity and rebelliousness are pretty much synonymous. 

Rebels are admirable because they’re constantly their authentic selves, regardless of what everyone else thinks–a mindset that is inherent within them. 

Rather than try to fit into predefined stereotypes, they will often turn down the expectations that they consider restrictive, limiting, and fake. 

They’re their own people, celebrating their individuality and uniqueness along the way. 

They resist groupthink like the plague, always striving to tap their authentic selves.  

6) They’re empathetic

Society might attempt to paint rebels as immoral, lawless people. 

But the truth is, they are often marked by their deep sense of empathy and desire for social justice. 

The funny thing is, standing up for others who are incapable of standing up for themselves is often deemed controversial. 

Rebels don’t accept norms that they believe to cause inequality or harm to others. 

Unfortunately standing up for the truth is far rarer than we think. 

Most of us just want a comfortable life; we don’t want the controversy, stress, effort, or inconvenience that comes with being rebellious.

Rocking the boat is motivated by a lot of things; one of them being a powerful sense of empathy for others. 

These words from George Orwell’s 1984 have proven to stand the test of time and stay universally relevant: “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Final words 

Unfortunately, we still live in a time of groupthink; a time where people who think and act differently, who rebel against convention, are unfairly dismissed as pariahs or social deviants. 

This shouldn’t be. 

Remember, contrary to what you might have been told, historically, it’s the rebels who have changed the fabric of society; who have changed the world. 

I’ll leave you with a portion of this now iconic speech by the departed tech revolutionary Steve Jobs

“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. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.”

Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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