Five Ways to Stand Out from the Crowd
Some people are content to just to be another face in the crowd. By assuming this attitude, they are saying, in effect, to the rest of the world, "I'm just average; there's nothing special about me." For those of us who would rather stand out from the crowd, there are some relatively easy ways in which we can accomplish this mission. None of them require a whole lot of skill or money. They do, however, require a little bit of commitment on our part.
The first way to stand out from the crowd is to take time to do the little things right. The old saying goes that "if it were easy, everyone would be doing it." Well, that's not necessarily true, as there are some easy things most people don't do because they just don't think those things are worthwhile. Here are two examples. The next time you go to the grocery store, notice how many people actually take time to carry the carts back to the cart-return. You will probably notice that only a very few of them do. Most will leave them between parking spaces, in handicapped spaces, or they'll simply turn them loose, allowing them to roll freely through the parking lot. By default, they are saying to the world, "I don't have time to do things right" or "everyone else is doing it that way and I am no different." If you always take time to take yours back to the cart-return, you will stand out as positive example.
The other example has to do with making proper turns while driving, including using your turn signal. Remember how you were taught in driving school or driver's education class to make turns? You are supposed to make sharp rights and wide lefts. Amazingly, many drivers will do just the opposite! Make turns the way you are supposed to and always use your turn signal. These are just a couple of examples, but taking the time to do the little things right will make you will stand out for the right reasons.
The second way to stand out from the crowd is to find alternatives to profanity. A person who relies on profanity in his or her speech patterns comes off as someone who is boorish and has a limited vocabulary. There are plenty of ways to tell someone exactly what you think about him or her without being profane. Even a person who is not all that intelligent seems a lot smarter when he or she avoids the use of profanity. At a minimum, that person seems more high class than people who just can't help themselves from using profanity.
The third way to stand out from the crowd is to memorize things that most other people commonly forget. Most people have short memories when it comes to subjects like politics and world events. For example, I'd wager that 90% of the citizens of my home state cannot name the losing candidate in the last gubernatorial election. Ten years from now, the majority of Americans will not be able to name John Kerry as the loser of this year's presidential election! Too many people are just so caught up in their own little worlds that they don't bother to retain certain things that don't directly affect them. You don't need a photographic memory to memorize stuff. Anyone who doesn't have some type of memory-affecting brain disease can do it. All you have to do is practice. Write things down. Repeat them to yourself over and over. If you can commonly remember things that others have long forgotten, you'll really stand out.
The fourth way to stand out from the crowd is to live below your means. This is probably the toughest item on my list to follow as our culture dictates that we mortgage ourselves to the hilt. We are taught to keep up with the Joneses. We are taught to buy everything the banks and our credit cards will allow us to buy, whether we can afford it or not. However, we should strive to leave as big of a gap as possible between our income and our bills. I know there are people out there who have large families and/or limited incomes and are struggling to make ends meet. I know that not everyone can have as big of a pad as I have between my income and my bills. However, it hasn't always been that way for me. I grew up in a very poor family. We lived in the housing projects from the time I was six until the time I was 18. However, we were always able to pay our bills on time because my parents didn't buy things they couldn't afford.
When I began my career, I didn't make much, but I still always had some money to spare after paying my bills. If I couldn't afford something, I didn't buy it until I could afford it. There were even some things that I was able to afford but still didn't buy because I wanted to have some money left for unexpected expenses. I didn't buy my first car until I was more than a year into my first full-time job. This is a lot of freedom that comes with living below one's means. When everyone around you is struggling to make ends meet and you're not, you really stand out.
The fifth way to stand out from the crowd is to make decisions based on logic and reason instead of emotion and/or dogma. Too many people react emotionally to situations, rather than thinking them out rationally. For example, many people will get upset if someone calls them a name or flashes a particular gesture at them, even though there's no logical reason to get so agitated by such behavior. It doesn't make you a "blankety-blank" just because someone calls you one. However, many people react as if it does!
Other people get caught in the dogma trap. They make up their minds first and then look at the facts and evidence later. Even when they do get around to the facts, they will seek only those which seem to support their views while disregarding or explaining away those which seem to support a contrary view. You've met people who are staunch supporters of one particular political party or the other, for example. To them, their party is always right and the other is always wrong, even though common sense tells us that one particular side of any issue is never right all the time. Reasonable people realize that the truth usually lies somewhere between the two extremes. Many times, I've come across "rah rah" partisan sites in the web, which disregard the dictates of common sense in favor of the "fact" that their extreme side has cornered the market on all truth. By using logic and reason to make your decisions in an open-minded fashion, you give yourself a major advantage over much of the population.
There are other ways to stand out from the crowd, even though I've just highlighted five of them here. They include things like using proper grammar and spelling, volunteering for thankless jobs, and always being courteous. I'm sure you could think of many others. The point is that, if you want to stand out from the crowd, there are ways within the power of almost anyone to do so - if he or she is only willing.
Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, free-lance writer, and trivia buff from Hopewell, VA. He operates a website, http://www.commenterry.com, on which he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in meanstream media.