A renegade is a person who has deserted their cause or defied convention.
A renegade is a rebel and sometimes an outlaw or even traitor.
Donald Trump is a renegade. He is not constrained by the conventions that limit other people. When he joined the race for the Republican candidature smart people scoffed. He was the joke entrant, looking to boost his ego/business profile. He would crash and burn in spectacular fashion. Left-leaning variety presenters such as John Oliver rubbed their hands with unadulterated glee. They would whip Trump like a rented mule all the way to his ignominious defeat. They would destroy his unsophisticated rhetoric with their superior wordplay, intellect, and reasoning.
After Trump defied all expectations to single-handedly demolish the Republican field, he locked horns with the powerful political dynasty otherwise known as the Clinton Crime Family. On election night Trump was afforded a 2% chance of winning based on a consensus of all polls and models. Left-wing commentators crammed ‘expert panels’ ready to pounce on the inevitable loser. And then Trump won, the same experts were forced to eat their weepy, salty words on camera.
How did Trump win? He rewrote the rules. Established political conventions were thrown out like last week’s trash. He wasn’t surprised by the outcome, ‘smart’ people have been writing him off for years. This is the strength of a renegade. They overcome odds, blunder into fields beyond their realm, and find a way prosper.
Other renegades who have risen to the top are Elon Musk, who seems to have a revolutionary new idea every other day. Musk also has his many detractors, and Tesla is the most short-sold stock in the history of trading. He seems to be defying the naysayers thus far and is on track to be the world’s richest man. The Musk approach to business is simply beyond the minds of seasoned Wall Street analysts who cannot fathom his genius.
UFC boss Dana White is another wildly successful renegade. White took control of an unruly, bloody spectacle and transformed it into the fastest growing sport in the world and a multi-billion dollar business. He cleaned up the performance-enhancing drugs plaguing the sport, organised structured weight classes, and sold the UFC to the world. Unarmed combat doe not require subtitles. It appeals to all cultures and nationalities and the UFC is a now a ubiquitous global brand.
The renegade’s main shortcoming arises when they collide with a circumstance that requires careful structure. Their minds are designed for lateral thinking and struggle with unyielding processes. Donald Trump has recently collided with such an event in the global Covid-19 pandemic. His bluster and lateral thinking were at odds with the decisions required in such a crisis, and his response has tended toward the chaotic. Medical emergencies have rules that cannot be broken. Surgeons have very little scope for latitude and creativity on the operating table.
Dana White is also struggling with the lockdown associated with the pandemic. His determination to host events on American Indian reserves that were exempt from regular jurisdiction has come up short, leading to the costly postponement of UFC 249, but he is not easily dissuaded. Construction is currently being undertaken on a Fight Island, a principality of its own, beyond petty laws and procedures, where UFC events can run every weekend. There will be no crowds in attendance, but with other sports shut down, White sees this as the opportunity of a lifetime. This is classic lateral, opportunist, renegade thinking in action.
Musk’s problems have also come from regulatory issues such as continuous market disclosure, and his propensity to make personal almost libelous attacks against his opponents. If he wants to get stoned on a podcast, call an opponent a ‘pedo guy’, and make outlandish financial claims, to hell with the consequences.
Successful renegades are aware of their shortcomings and tend to surround themselves with calm, calculating lawyers and accountants who are on call at all hours to handle the details. Small picture professionals are required to keep projects on track and lawsuits at bay. The renegade is unstable and thrives in adversity, so ballast is needed for their ship.
The world needs renegades. Lawyers and accountants do not create wealth, they form symbiotic relationships with those that do. Human advancement is reliant upon rule-breakers, creative thinkers, and those that ignore established modes and methods. These are the minds that break the shackles of conventional thinking and create the extraordinary.