A person who stands out from the crowd is someone who is comfortable with who they are, has the confidence to be unique and to let their individuality shine. Standing out from the crowd means that you are not afraid to speak your mind and to avoid following others when to do so results in sameness and conformity.
While standing out from the crowd might not be something you can achieve every day of your life, it is definitely a worthwhile goal to aspire to as a whole, especially if it helps you achieve your other goals in life.
Decide what standing out from the crowd means for you. Is this about looking as different from everyone else around you as you can possibly be or is it about going the extra mile to prove that you are one of a kind in skills, talent, or personality? Standing out from the crowd might be about trying to live your best and be your best. Or, it might be about trying to have a unique style or look that you’ve created yourself without borrowing from other people’s ideas. At its most basic, standing out from the crowd means embracing your individuality and trusting that your own choices are good ones. The person you’re projecting out to everyone will stand out more successfully if you’re fully confident about yourself.
Take chances or risks and work hard. Risks and chances are the things in life that can catapult you forward if they work out. Many people won’t take up the challenge because they’re afraid of failure. Yet, without failure nothing new can be gained and it is only those who are willing to take risks and to work hard at their dreams who eventually break through and succeed. Have a well-placed sense of faith in your mission, and a willingness to take risks if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t be swayed by the crowd. The pace of the crowd can be relentless and the ease with which the crowd can change its mind, its clothes, or its latest fad is breathtaking. Barely anyone in the crowd stops a moment to wonder if this shared momentum is responsible in a big picture way or whether it’s conscious of individual needs. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’re going to need to stop and ask the hard questions, such as “Is there a point to this?” or “Just because everyone else has X gadget, why do I also need one? Will it enhance my life?”
- Learn how to respond to insistent people who tell you that you’re missing out on something if you don’t join in. Sometimes their agenda is to ensure that you’re as indebted, engrossed, or mystically enthralled by something as they are rather than it being of any real benefit to you personally.
Think for yourself. Standing out from the crowd won’t happen if you’re thinking with the crowd. While there will be times when the crowd-think does align with your own thoughts, what about all those times it hasn’t? Be prepared to voice your differences, your concerns, and your preferences. When talking, it is important to come across as self-assured and knowledgeable, so be sure to have done your research and know your facts beforehand.
Have good manners. Politeness opens doors and keeps them open. Manners might seem old-fashioned to some these days but they are the currency of respect and when a person feels respected, they remember the well-mannered person forever. People are very fond of telling one another about the rare acquaintance of theirs who has “impeccable manners”; make sure that person is you.
- Say thank you for all the little things people do, as well as the big things. Send thank you cards to people who have helped you with a deadline, held open a door for you when your hands were full, or took you out for a lovely evening. In business this is also very important when people you’ve networked with help you on your way.
- Shake people’s hands with strength and passion. Show them from the outset that you’re someone with heart and conviction.
- There are never enough smiles to go around; be someone who provides at least five smiles for every one frown you spot.
Do things differently. Find new ways to get people’s attention and to stay noticed. Many people have found out how to create jobs and/or high profiles for themselves by using the internet in amazing ways, such as blogs, gimmicks, videos, and more. For example, Kyle Clarke created an online campaign called “Hire Me” in which he encouraged employers to bid for him and he ended up with more job offers than he knew what to do with in a time of recession. And Alex Tew invented the Million Dollar Homepage to raise money for his university education, a website in which he sold one million pixels, grossing him over one million dollars and spawning many copycats. And of course there are sites like Facebook and Twitter, demonstrating the power of being the first to do things differently and to stand out from the crowd. These kinds of unique initiatives are bound to make you stand out from the crowd; you’ll just need to be the first to do something differently.
Be attentive. The greatest honor you can do another person is to show you’ve really heard them, and to show that what they’ve said matters. Since most people are too busy wondering what to say next, and how to explain their own thoughts, feelings, and ideas, a listener will stand out from the rest. Be willing to give people the space to talk about themselves and show that you clearly respect their thoughts. Not only will this flatter them and reassure them that they matter, but they’ll realize very quickly that you’re someone to treasure and they’ll follow your lead.
- Put away the cell phone in restaurants, at meetings, and during conversations. Having a romantic get together? Turn the cell phone right off. Having a chat with friends? Leave the cell phone in your bag, even when it rings.
- Stop your eyes from wandering around the crowd when you’re with someone. Focus fully on them and be truly interested in them; this will show them that they’re the one standing out from the crowd in your eyes. In turn, they’ll see you as the most amazing person around.
Show initiative. Standing out from the crowd often means that you take action while everyone else stands back, wondering what to do next. If you learn to sum up situations quickly and to respond according to what needs to be done, you place yourself in a position of being different from the silent majority waiting to be shown what should happen next.
- Innovate at work, at home, in your volunteer group. Be the first to point out what’s working and what is not, and how to make the most of what’s great and improve on what’s not. Leadership requires tenacity and certainty of purpose and will ensure that you stand out from the crowd.
- If you see someone in trouble, don’t assume they’re getting help. Stop and ask if they need help to change the tire, or to pick up their dropped papers. Call the police if you see someone in terrible trouble and it’s too dangerous to intervene; don’t assume someone else has already done so!
Do what you say you’ll do. When you make someone a promise, do your very best to keep it. People who stand out from the crowd are people who keep their word and follow up their promises to help, to be somewhere, to do something for someone. The reason you’ll stand out is because so many people do not do what they say they will. Reliability makes you memorable and causes you to stand well above all the forgotten promise-breakers.
Check your posture. The person who stands out from the crowd will also stand tall, no matter your height. Slouching is a defensive strategy that does nothing to draw attention to you in a crowd, not to mention its harm for your overall body alignment. If you’re having difficulties standing tall, talk to a physiotherapist who might be able to help you improve your posture through exercise and stretching. Usually though, it’s enough to remind yourself to stand up straight, to keep your chin up, and to make eye contact with others.
Dress stylishly and wear what suits you. Clothing speaks in its own way, and a well-tailored outfit that fits you perfectly is bound to have people notice you. Get yourself fitted in good clothes and only buy a few of the best rather than a lot of the cheapest. Durable, perfectly-fitting clothes will free you from having to worry about your appearance because you just know you look good, whatever physical attributes you were born with.
- Ensure good grooming. Keep your hair in fantastic shape and keep your skin and nails clean and well cared for.
- If you’re going to dress “way out”, make sure the choices are good quality, well made, interesting, and that you’re comfortable carrying off something that is very different from the norm around you.
Remind people how great they are. Regularly single out people in your life, from the workplace to home, to remind them how great they are. So few of us take the time to acknowledge the people in our lives whom we take for granted that when someone does validate us in this way, it comes as a totally sweet surprise and is so out of the ordinary that it gets remembered. It’s also a very genuine way of establishing rapport with people, and maintaining goodwill.
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