As human beings, we have a deep need for rules. For order. For regulation. Rules keep the chaos at bay, and allow us to feel that we have some control over the universe. Nothing wrong with that, right? Rules keep us safe from harm. True. But rules and regulations also have a dark side. They can limit our creativity and induce us into operating on automatic pilot, as in “we’ve always done it this way”.

The Strategy of Disrupting is a perfect remedy for those moments when rules and regulations do more harm than good. Combined with a healthy dose of humor, this rebellious strategy cuts through the bureacracy and brings the unexpected back to life. Here are a few examples:

The provocative psychologist

Jeffrey Wijnberg, a self-professed provocative psychologist, is familiar with breaking the rules in order to achieve breakthrough progress. A client walks into Wijnberg’s office looking like ten miles of rough trail. The client appears physically exhausted, is unshaven, and is shabbily dressed. Almost immediately the client begins to tell Wijnberg that he is afraid that his wife no longer loves him. Instead of playing the objective, analytical psychologist, Wijnberg replies with “Do you have a wife?” The client fails to understand Wijnberg’s question. “Well,” Wijnberg admits, “looking as shabby as you do, I’m surprised any woman would want to be with you! How do you do it?” It’s a controversial approach, but by disrupting the client’s expectation of a typical session with a psychologist, Wijnberg was able to make real progress with the client’s issues.

From headscarf to bald

Back in 2004, France made world news when they banned students from wearing “articles of religious expression” to school. In short, they banned headscarves. One enterprising young muslim student masterfully employed the Strategy of Disrupting. Knowing that she would not expose her hair as it would offend her God, and wishing to respect the laws of her home nation, France, she did the unexpected. She shaved her head. The school had no choice but to admit her.


Rules and regulations have their place in our world. More often than not, they deserve to be respected. But when we get stuck, when bureacracy chokes the creativity and progress out of life, The Strategy of Disrupting can flip a tedious situation into an entirely new possibility.

This piece is a summary of the strategy of disrupting.
If you want to learn more about this strategy and how to really use it, book a workshop, show, or 1-day training session.