How to separate yourself from others: The key to standing out

Have you always wanted to stand out in a crowd? Do you find the conformist status quo a little boring? 

We live in a world where obedience and conventionality are often viewed as desirable traits. Meanwhile, those that stray away from the norm are often ostracized or seen as ‘weird’ by society. Until they’re not. 

One of my favorite quotes is by musician Jonathan Davis: “you laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at you because you’re all the same.” 

True individuality matters to those that count, whether it’s in business, social or creative circles. Want to separate yourself from others and truly stand out? You’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into it. 

Have self-confidence 

Let’s face it, when a confident person walks into a room, they have a natural allure and magnetism about them. 

It’s just how human nature works. There’s just something about the person who is cool, collected and is aware of their own self-worth that is inherently attractive. 

Remember, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. And if you want to stand out for the right reasons, try not to cross it. 

When you’re feeling unconfident and self-conscious, people tend to sense this a mile away.  Practice being self-assured and having self-belief (even fake it at first) and expect some drastically positive results. Soon enough, you’ll be waving your insecurities goodbye. 

Embrace individuality 

In my experience, the majority of insecure people strive to conform to societal norms, to be an ordinary member of the flock, so to speak. 

But think of some of the truly great people in modern history–-from Gandhi to Einstein to Anthony Bourdain. These successful people had the confidence to embrace their intrinsic individuality

Their legacies are transcendent partly because they weren’t afraid to be themselves, not just an average member of society. 

I think the aspiration for conformity is most evident (though not limited to) when we are younger, such as in high school. When in high school, being different generally comes with a lot of baggage and labels like ‘weird’ or ‘loser.’ 

In our teenage years, we haven’t quite developed into mature adults so the primal urge for groupthink is at a relatively high level. As people grow, they begin to realize that the losers, nerds, misfits and weirdos of high school are the ones changing the world while the so-called ‘cool kids’ are living dull and conventional lives. 

Yet for much of their high school lives, these misfits probably didn’t fit in, perhaps even bullied regularly. But they had the confidence to embrace their individuality–being their original selves and not like everyone else.

Be original

We often have similar beliefs and opinions since we tend to consume the same content and media. Make an effort to stand out by showcasing your unique style, talents and personality. 

Be original with others by exhibiting unique personality traits and being comfortable in your own skin. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, to crack the occasional joke or be goofy. 

In a world dominated by conformity and obedience, being truly original is an increasingly rare commodity to come by. 

Remember that boring documentary you watched on Netflix? If you don’t, that’s because it didn’t stand out and was pretty forgettable. You don’t want to be like a forgettable documentary, you want to be a true original with a riveting storyline and impressive production value. 

When I decided to open my first business a decade ago, my passion was food. But I wanted to open a restaurant that was a bit different. 

At the time, the industry was quite saturated–with many restaurants opening similar types of cuisines: Japanese, Chinese, or burgers. 

Since I had traveled and enjoyed the food in South America not long before, I wanted to open a broadly South American-themed restaurant with some traditional but authentic Latin flavors.

Looking back, it was a big risk on my part as South American food was virtually unknown to the market. But I took the leap, worked hard on the recipes, raised capital, and eventually, I opened a restaurant to glowing reviews. 

Soon, we had long queues of eager customers lining up daily to try our unique menu. Eventually, we expanded to multiple locations. In this instance, like many others, being original paid off. 

Whether it’s for a job interview or going on a first date, or opening a business, you want to impress and stand out by showing off your originality. A bit of passion won’t hurt, either. 

Make sure you’re passionate

It’s not a state secret, people are attracted to passion. Whether it’s about business or a creative skill, or volunteering, if you’re consistently passionate about what you do, expect to begin standing out. 

Don’t be coy about expressing your views and opinions, unless of course they come at the expense of others. People will be intrigued by your passion. Strive to think differently than the pack, since as we established, it’s this very type of independent and unique thinking that makes you stand out. 

Having a passion is great, but building the life that you want has to start somewhere. A fantastic resource I’ve come across is Life Journal by teacher and life coach Jeanette Brown. 

It wasn’t long ago when I was sitting in bed dreaming of the person I wanted to become. Through Jeanette Brown’s guidance, I eventually organized my thoughts and took control of my life, confident and resilient in my quest to become my best self. 

I feel I am now equipped with lifelong tools that will continue to help cultivate my passion and achieve goals, such as standing out in a crowd.  

Here’s the link once again.

Communication is an asset 

Here’s the deal, passion should resonate throughout your life, such as how you deal with people. 

Being personable and charming are absolute assets in life. Sometimes you’re born with it, sometimes you need to develop your interpersonal skills over time. 

But working on the latter can separate you from the rest. It could be the X-factor over whether you get that job or not, or whether or not you score that second date.  

So be friendly and engaging when interacting with others. Allow your charisma and personality to shine bright. If you’re shy, that shouldn’t be an issue. As long as people see you’re making an effort, they’ll appreciate you for it.  

Become approachable and trustworthy. Network. Eventually, you’ll build valuable relationships, both professionally and personally. 

Avoid the trap of going on long monologues about yourself–be humble, regularly ask questions, and show interest. Stay curious. 

Develop your communication skills. Sometimes a highly qualified individual will lose a job opportunity to a less qualified one due to an inability to communicate effectively.

You’d be surprised how rare effective communication skills are in life, whether it’s in person or through email or the phone. Be regularly mindful of the energy you put out there. 

Try to be an attentive listener as well. Regularly maintain eye contact, listen and give thoughtful responses or questions. Having solid communication habits goes a long way in today’s fast-paced world. 

Don’t underestimate creativity 

While communication is crucial, so are creativity and the ability to innovate. Genuine creativity is not as common as you think. Creativity is sometimes an overlooked skillset, particularly in the office.

Let’s face it, there are countless people an employer can hire to fill an accounting or operations role. Meanwhile, genuine creatives with the ability to think innovatively are exceedingly rare in this world. 

Creativity is not limited to the arts; it can be about problem-solving or ideas of how to market or expand a business. 

Think about it: so many of the successful people in life, from businesspeople to celebrities, typically all have a degree of creativity in their repertoire. The truth is being creative gives you a distinct advantage, you just have to harness it. 

Creatives excel because they create revolutionary opportunities that cannot readily be seen by the naked eye. 

Have a sense of style 

Creativity can extend to many key facets of your life, including personal style. I know what you’re thinking: fashion might be a bit superficial. And just to be clear, I don’t mean you don’t have to regularly dress like an extravagant Hollywood star at the Met Gala. 

But let’s be real, appearances go a long way. A stylish, well-dressed person will always stand out because they subconsciously exude class, poise, and confidence. 

Invest in a wardrobe that looks and feels good and reflects you as a person. Don’t worry about what others might think. “You do you” should be a general rule when it comes to style, while also taking into account clothes that suit your body type, color, and occasion.

In addition, make it a point to stand and sit up straight! Try posture exercises if you have to. Everything adds up in the end. Stand tall and be proud of who you are–two pillars of standing out. 

cool perspn How to separate yourself from others: The key to standing out

Be a sponge 

Steve Jobs consistently emphasized the significance of following your curiosity. Remember that you can learn something from everyone regardless of who they are, how old they are, their background, etc. 

Ask intelligent and useful questions when appropriate. Seek answers to the questions nobody else has asked.

Sometimes the answers create less of an impression than the unique ability to ask perceptive and insightful questions. 

Eventually, you’ll be the person known for their out-of-the-box and divergent thinking–significant assets in all angles of life, including (and especially) separating yourself from the crowd.  

Knowledge is king 

Read, be curious about the world, travel when you have the opportunity, learn from your connections, both new and old. 

You can thoroughly separate yourself from the crowd by being worldly and knowledgeable about things. Instead of spending your free time mindlessly scrolling through social media or having inane conversations at a bar, focus on gaining knowledge.

Go to a museum and be genuinely invested in getting informed or read a book on a subject matter that is foreign to you. The old cliche is true: we only use a small fraction of our brain–try to maximize it by learning something new every day. 

Soon enough, you’ll find yourself standing out with your wealth of knowledge. 

However, although being knowledgeable is great, without kindness, you won’t be a complete person. 

Kill them with kindness

Here’s the thing, it’s easy to get big-headed about your bank account or your work promotion. But guess what, it’s just as easy to be kind and courteous to others. 

We live in a world where real kindness and manners have become a dying art form. By practicing authentic kindness and compassion for others, from restaurant servers to your own family, you’ll already be viewed as favorable and a model citizen to others, thus effectively standing out from the masses. 

Trust me, empathy goes a long way. So do results. 

Results speak louder than words 

This may be an obvious one, but do you realize that people pay more attention to what you do and your actions than to what you say?

So, think about this: What do you feel you’re good at? Is there still room for improvement

Make it a goal to be an expert whenever that skill is needed. Your capabilities don’t have to be extraordinarily complex; it can be a simple skill that is high in demand and that you’ve mastered more than the rest. 

And don’t be bashful when it comes to marketing yourself, either. You’ve worked hard to achieve what you have, feel free to be proud and boast about it in moderation. Achievement sticks out. 

In short: to truly separate yourself and stand out from the crowd involves staying true to yourself and maintaining discipline. Adapt these habits consistently, and you’ll be standing out from the rest in no time. And if you need an additional boost, as I did, just click here

Picture of Daniel Mabanta

Daniel Mabanta

Daniel Mabanta is a freelance writer and editor, entrepreneur and an avid traveler, adventurer and eater. He lives a nomadic life, constantly on the move. He is currently in Manila, Philippines and deciding where his next destination will be.

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