How to Stand Out From the Crowd and Get Others To Notice You More
“You have to be willing to allow the person you are today to DIE so that you can give birth to the person you are meant to become.” — Les Brown
Many people out there are extremely talented, smarter, more skillful and have a far better advantage than you. There are more talented writers, painters, singers, coders, photographers or whatever area it is that can do their craft without shedding too much sweat.
But there’s a way you can stand out among them.
If you can cultivate a spirit that always strives to improve and produce no matter how difficult it is, you’ll be rewarded.
Best-selling author Cal Newport once said:
“If you can’t learn, you can’t thrive. If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive — no matter how skilled or talented you are.”
The excuses you tell yourself that you can’t do it because you’re not talented enough are lame. Your limiting thoughts create boundaries on the possibilities you can achieve.
You can learn and improve if you do something that many people can’t.
As Thomas Oppong said: “Begin to plant seeds every day that will yield the best and most fulfilling life now and in the future.”
Go On Even When You Don’t Feel Like Going On
Michaelangelo, a renowned painter once said, “If the people knew how hard I had to work to gain mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.”
If you can see your future on a crystal ball and find out that it will require you thousands of practice before you can create your brand, would you do it.?
If you discover you’ll need to wake up early every day to practice and train, would you embrace it?
If you find out you’ll need to sacrifice and even give up some of the leisure things you do, would you take the challenge?
Most people will not do it.
Many talented, smart and rich people think they have all it takes to stand out in the game. They are like the hare in the story “The Hare and the Tortoise.” They all have the advantage to begin with but they remain complacent thinking their abilities can secure their safe zone.
What they continuously discount is that there are some “tortoise” out there. Those who appear very tiny and seem to can’t pull it off yet have the discipline to keep going no matter what. Because of their attitude of “keep going on”, they reach the finish line without even realizing it.
The commitment to improve every day is not an easy feat.
There will be times when you’ll feel your efforts are useless because results are not what you expect them to be. There will be voices in your head that will tell you that what you’re doing does not make sense and you’ll be better off to give it up.
You’ll be deceived by the limiting beliefs you have that maybe, it truly isn’t possible to win.
At least, that’s how I feel at times.
Developing consistency and focus are the most challenging things I’ve done. When I started blogging last year, I was so scattered. I kept jumping from niché to niché chasing where the huge chunk of the audience is. I drop any activity like a hot potato before I can even master one skill.
I write and write but no one is interested enough to consistently stop by every day.
Then a few months ago, I decided to refine my process and commit myself to daily practice. I focused on few topics that really interest me. I read books from cover to cover and connect what I learned from each. I made my process structured and focused on how others can benefit from what I share.
It’s not surprising that people start to read my stuff even though I do not heavily promote them. I didn’t need to shove my articles down the reader’s throat. I didn’t need to join blogging groups that do comment-for-comment tactics.
People started to appreciate that I take my work seriously. I started to enjoy publishing stories with proven experiences, research, and studies. I started receiving emails asking me if they can share my work or simply thank me for my effort.
Do I consider myself a winner? Of course, at least from my previous self.
But I know I’m not yet there. I still have to walk long miles and engage in more consistent training to get to where I want.
When you consistently improve yourself, opportunities will start to open and you’ll be rewarded for the sincere efforts you do. But make no mistake! It’s not going to come easily.
Not every output you produce will be accepted. Not everything you do will give you great results. Not every second will be a happy moment. It’s like producing ten but only two will bring home the bacon.
This is the exact reason why most people will not do this training. Even renowned writer Stephen King knows how hard this is. As he shared in his memoir On Writing Well:
“Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
Are you willing to keep going even if the currents are not sometimes in your favor?
Do One Thing That Will Make Everything Else Unnecessary
“It doesn’t matter what others think. If you believe in something and if you can create value, go for it.” — Darius Foroux
Many people mistakenly think that in order to create a brand, they have to be everywhere. They overwhelm themselves with many activities thinking a new software or strategy is the final ingredient to their success. They appear so busy but actually don’t go anywhere close to their goals.
It is a common misconception that to produce quality outputs, you must work long hours.
Some people can effectively do it but you don’t have to. There are other priorities in your life that also deserve your attention.
Your output suffers when you are scattered and lack clarity on your priorities. Before you start anything, you have to know your priorities.
Best-selling author Gary Keller advice choosing only one thing so that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary. He frames his questions this way:
“What’s the ONE thing I can do:
- For my spiritual life
- For my key relationships
- For my physical health
- For my personal life or career
- For my finances
- For any area that matters to me
If you’re clear with these, you’ll have a clear compass that will serve as your guiding force to drive your actions and decisions.
For my personal life, I have decided to drop many activities. I forced myself to focus only on one thing that truly drives my results. It was difficult in the beginning but once the results started to improve, I’m a forever believer.
This also allows me to give other priorities their respective time they deserve. When I write, I am fully immersed and no one distracts me. When my husband is at home, I’m not on my writing table rushing to write. When it’s our devotion time, I don’t have any other errands.
Why complicate your schedule with other shallow work when only a few give results?
Identify your priorities, nail them and great results will come. Cal Newport puts it in a simple formula:
High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)
Maximize the intensity of your work and devote your energy to important priorities. Alexander Graham Bell also advised us to: “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
Show Up Every Day Until You Create A Chain
Doing anything consistently without knowing it will pay off is daunting.
What if it’s not the job you want? What if the results are not what you want them to be?
Extraordinary people do not bother with these thoughts. They still show up every day even when the risk is high. Even though they care about the results, they know that the learning they will get throughout the process is far more valuable than the actual results.
Software developer Brad Isaac once ran into comedian Jerry Seinfeld when he was at an open mic comedy club. He asked for advice on how to be a better comedian.
Seinfeld told him that to be a better comic was to create better jokes. And the way to create better jokes was to write every day. He has a huge calendar on the wall and crosses out the date with a big red X when he writes jokes.
“After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing the chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is not to break the chain.”
This is what most people cannot last doing.
No matter how talented people are, many simply do not have the stamina to stay in the training. They do it for few days then relapse and when they come back it’s like starting from ground zero again.
Mastery does not show up for people who don’t show up consistently.
As mentioned in Proverbs 12: 24:
“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.”
You only need to fulfill that one thing one day at a time.
When I feel like being lazy, I look at my calendar and tell myself, “I’ve created this chain and if I don’t train today all my previous effort will be wasted.” I use that chain as a symbol of my progress.
Of course, there will be unexpected things to happen. If there are days where you cannot devote the same number of hours, then put in few minutes of work.
Maybe it’s two to three paragraphs of writing. Maybe it’s few brush strokes. Maybe it’s ten push-ups. Maybe it’s ten-minute run.
Whatever the duration is, don’t break the chain. Don’t break your commitment. Don’t break the previous effort you’ve invested.
Let Your Craft Become Your Primary Source of Identification
Overnight mastery is simply not possible. Even the greatest players in any industry would tell you it took them lots of hours before they got to where they are.
Sticking with the skill long enough for success to show is an important requirement to get great results. The person behind the idea of the “Happiest Place on Earth” embody this principle.
Walt Disney’s success is not an accident. He has prepared for it long enough since he was young. Though the concept of the theme park itself is not yet fully clear, he knew drawing will help him achieve his dreams. When he shows an interest in something, he studies it carefully and discusses the technique with others.
One teacher placed him in the “second dumbest” seat in the classroom but that did not discourage Walt from dreaming big things. Drawing became his main venue to escape the world. He drew and drew constantly.
He drew until it became the primary source of his identification.
A funny story was recounted in the autobiography of Walt Disney: Triumph of the American Imagination which was written by Neal Gabler:
“Walt so excelled at illustration that when his art teacher gave a homework assignment of drawing the human body and Walt submitted a perfect rendering, she thought he had copied it and made him draw another in front of the class.”
Mastery takes as long as you can bear it.
Extraordinary people know that to achieve extraordinary results, you must embrace extraordinary effort. They don’t accept the limitations set by others and are always open to new ideas and ways for a possible breakthrough.
Even though Walt Disney has a natural talent for drawing, he looked out for more opportunities to improve this. He sought jobs and people that will teach him to develop his techniques. He aimed for fineness in his drawing.
“Mastery actually means you’re a master of what you know and apprentice of what you don’t,” said Gary Keller.
Commitment to improve and train every day will be the hardest decision you’ll have to make.
It means doing the job when everyone else is resting. It means continuously training even when the results are not guaranteed. It means dropping few things to give way to what really is important.
It’s difficult. But it will eventually pay off.
Many drops off the race in the middle but if you relentlessly run, jog, stride or walk forward, you’ll reach the finish line without even knowing it.
Reap The Rewards Many Do Not Get to See
“Success doesn’t come from what you do occassionally, it comes from what you do consistently”. — Marie Forleo
There are far more talented and skillful players out there. But not all of them will stand out. Because not all of them are strong enough to endure the training.
When you come in and commit to the work, you’ll reap the rewards many do not get to see.
You’ll gain mastery. You’ll improve every day. You’ll see greater opportunities.
And because of this attitude, you’ll stand out.