“The Young Ladies of Avignon” is considered to be the first masterpiece of the 20th century, although Picasso was harshly criticized when it was first exhibited. Monet didn’t have an easy time of it either with his ground-breaking paintings, so much so that he event attempted suicide, driven on by his apparent failure. And what can we say about van Gogh, who only managed to sell one painting in his lifetime? Many of the great artists were rebels and had to brave the criticism or lack of understanding of their contemporaries; and this was not always an easy path to tread. “Masterpieces” do not appear by chance; questions of genius apart, the great artists undertook a common journey: they learnt in schools or studios (which explains the lack of women among the “greats” as, until the middle of the 19th century, they were barred from these institutions), they were passionate about their craft, and were dedicated body and soul to it. To the foregoing qualities we need to add another which is difficult to emulate: they were rebels with a cause. All the great artists challenged the status quo and their work changed the way we think about art. And it is precisely in times like the present that an attitude of rebellion is what we most need.

We tend to accept the current state of affairs and although we may criticize it, we do little or nothing to change things. We resign ourselves to the fact that politicians are the way they are, and that the crisis will one day be over. However, we need to take on an attitude of constructive rebellion, the type of rebellion which not only questions but acts as well. In the same way that art is not changed by inaction, neither will we change the way society or companies work with words alone. Constructive rebellion requires hard work and initiative. We Latins have a reputation for being critical and creative, but the crisis has paralyzed us to such an extent that corruption appears “normal” to us. Perhaps the time has come to wake up and realise that what is common is not necessarily normal. Constructive rebellion has not just been the hallmark of artistic geniuses but of all innovators and talented people who have transformed companies and societies. What would happen if such an attitude were fostered in organizations? And in society? Things would be rather different …

If art teaches us anything, it’s that a great painting is the outcome of many hours of work, of impassioned genius, and of rebellion with a cause; and these same qualities pertain in innovative products or those things which help us to develop our talents. All of us can be rebels with a cause, both in our professional and personal lives. This means not blindly accepting the normal way of doings things and, if we are not in agreement, taking action and not just complaining around the coffee machine or in conversations with friends. Without action there is no change. Therein lies the great challenge to each of us, and the way to emerge from this crisis in the quickest way possible.

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