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Be More Pirate: Use “Good Trouble” to Create Success and New Ideas

When we were little many of us dreamed of sailing the high seas and becoming pirates. Sam Conniff Allende, author of BE MORE PIRATE, encourages you to release your inner pirate and live by the concept of “good trouble”. 

Hopefully your mind is cooking up ideas and questions about how you can use pirate innovations to challenge and change your own environment. Just before we move into the specific strategies you can adopt, here is how we’re defining pirates and what it means to be more pirate.

Pirates challenge the establishment’s authority and ownership of new ideas.

  • Pirates innovate at the margins, free from the order of the ordinary.
  • Pirates incubate their ideas in an intensive open-space environment.
  • Pirates have a dual focus: fortune, then fairness.
  • Pirates’ acute focus on micro needs inadvertently creates macro solutions. • Pirates tell their story at scale through their use of subversive tactics.
  • Eat. Sleep. Pirate. Repeat.

Essentially, pirates trouble the edges of society and make enough shock waves to influence the middle ground. Trouble is their tool, although within a Be More Pirate state of mind, it’s more accurate to call it good trouble.

The concept of “good trouble” is, for me, the absolute core of what it means to be more pirate. The term was coined by legendary civil rights activist and campaigner John Lewis, a US congressman. He has been using this term for years, drawing on his own experience that dates back to a famous bridge in Selma at the height of the civil rights movement in America. As a term, good trouble went viral in June 2016 when he staged a sit-in on the floor of the US House of Representatives, calling for change to the laws that govern gun sales in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting in which fifty people were killed. A couple of months later he gave a commencement speech to the graduating students of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in which he urged them:

Go out there, get in the way, get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble, and make some noise. Our country needs you now more than ever before. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission, and a mandate to do something about it. Stand up, speak up, and speak out. Be brave. Be bold. Be courageous. . . . And never, ever let anything get you down.”

Being a troublemaker, even a good troublemaker, doesn’t automatically make you a pirate, but I really believe that you can’t be a pirate without the intention of making some good trouble. Remember, pirates didn’t set out to change the world, they just wanted to change their world. Pirates didn’t intend to push forward democracy, they just wanted to make their own decisions. Pirates didn’t mean to advance social policy, they just wanted to be treated fairly. Sometimes imagination compounds, and good ideas that are formed at the edges find their way to the center and change everything. They didn’t just cause trouble, they caused good trouble.

Find out more on how to live by the pirate rules in BE MORE PIRATE by Sam Conniff Allende!


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Excerpted from Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff AllendeCopyright © 2018 by author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash.


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