When World War Two began, Britain had the biggest, most powerful navy in the world, and the home for the world’s most powerful navy was Scapa Flow, it was defended better than any other harbour.

It was considered impenetrable because every defence had been put in place including block-ships sunk at the entrance to make it impossible for an enemy to attack.

So, the admiralty could relax knowing their battleships were untouchable at Scapa Flow.

It was the one place in the world no enemy would even think of attacking.

Until just after the war began, at midnight October 15th, Gunther Prien, the captain of U47, submerged and slipped through a tiny gap between the blockships.

In the dark, in the middle of Scapa Flow, the U 47 sunk The Royal Oak, one of the navy’s biggest battleships, safe at anchor in what was considered the safest harbour.

Because Gunther Prien, thought “What if it isn’t?” 

He did what no-one else believed could be done because he questioned what no-one else dared to question.

In 1982, at the Daytona 500, Bobby Allison questioned the rules.

NASCAR drivers bump into each other as they power round the track flat out, they call it ‘nudging’ and it’s considered part of racing.

So, like all the other cars in the race, Allison’s Buick had to have a large rear bumper attached for safety, that was the rule.

But that bumper caused a lot of air-resistance, slowing down his Buick

Allison realised the rules said he had to start with a rear bumper, but they didn’t say he had to finish with one.

So the bumper didn’t actually have to stay on the car for the duration of the race.

In other words, it didn’t have to be attached too well.

And that’s why in lap 4, when Cale Yarborough bumped into Allison, the Buick’s rear bumper fell off.

And, without the air-resistance cause by the bumper, Allison’s car immediately became much more aerodynamic, much faster.

So much faster that, without the bumper, he led the race for 147 out of 200 laps and finished 23 seconds ahead of everyone else.

Allison won because he questioned the rules no one else dared to question.

In 1984, Nike also questioned the rules.

They had just launched a range of basketball shoes called Air Jordan.

They wanted to showcase them in a televised NBA game but were told they couldn’t.

The Air Jordans were red and black, but NBA rules said all shoes had to be at least 51% white.

But then Nike asked the question no one ever asks, what if we break the rules?

Nike found the cost of breaking the rule was a $5,000 fine.

To them this sounded like a bargain: Michael Jordan on TV wearing their shoes for the entire game, and it would only cost $5,000.

Nike went ahead and the TV cameras stayed on Michael Jordan and the Nike shoes the whole game, they were the only shoes that weren’t white.

The controversy meant everyone was talking about the Air Jordans and waiting to see what happened in the next game.

Would Nike do it again or would they be banned?

Air Jordans became the anti-establishment shoes, the must-have footware for youngsters who saw themselves as rebels.

Air Jordan grew and grew and, in 2022 alone, sales were $5 billion.

That’s what happens when you decide to question the rules.

As Neil Gaiman said: “If you only ever do what everyone else does, you’ll only ever get what everyone else gets”.