Creating your own unique footprints
If you walk in the footprints of others, you won’t make any of your own.
You want to be original, but how do you do it? One of the best ways to be original is by welcoming who you are without attempting to be anyone else. Find the things that make you exclusive and commemorate them (don’t hide them!).
Challenge yourself to think out of the box and act creatively. Overall, being original means being uniquely you and expressing what you enjoy.
When you dare to be an original you are daring to be “yourself” and everything that incorporates who you really are. To many of us, that can be a frightening and startling proposition.
And why can that be frightening, you ask?
It can be frightening because it means putting ourselves on the line. It means we could be subjecting ourselves to scrutiny, judgment and possible ridicule. It means exposure and vulnerability.
Certainly, there is more comfort to be found in conformity, lying low, and blending in with the crowd.
There is also boredom, complacency, and the prospect of never living to your prospective.
It takes bravery and self-belief to dare to be an original – to reveal your uniqueness and to show that you’re one of a kind.
However, as with any frightening endeavour, the rewards of overcoming obstacles and prevailing far outweigh the consequences of not venturing forth.
As the late Steve Jobs stated in his speech at a Stanford University graduation commencement:
“Your time is limited; so, don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
It’s true. Life is too short to live it trying to be anything other than your true, original self. Be who you are and be it the best way you know how. Celebrate your individuality and uniqueness. Dare to be an original!
Sia sang in her latest track for the movie Dolittle:
“I’m here to try anything
I’m done with the suffering
It’s time to stand up and sing
For my life
I’m here now to try it all
I’m ready to take a fall
‘Cause I’m an original
Why deny it?
And I won’t waste my life being typical
I’ma be original
Even when it’s difficult
And I won’t change myself when they tell me, “No”
I’ma be original
I’ma be original”
The French writer Andre Gide said:
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said, but, since nobody was listening, everything must be said again.”
I would change that slightly to say that, even if everything has been said, it hasn’t been in YOUR voice, with YOUR interpretation, with YOUR point of view.
Accepting your originality
Recognize your own uniqueness. You are, in a sense, already original. While there will be people who are like you, wear the same clothes, and have the same ideas, no one has had the experiences you have or view the world from exactly the identical point of view.
Understand that being who you are is already unique and you don’t need to change.
You might feel nervous by things that make you feel different. However, these differences don’t define you. They are part of who you are and add to your unique experience.
Acknowledge how your experiences shape who you are. There will never be a person who can replicate your thoughts, experiences, and ideas in full.
Have confidence in yourself. Being original means, you might get some heat or backlash for your choices.
People won’t always react well to what they perceive as different, so building confidence in what you do will help show yourself and others that you are proud to be original. Think positively about yourself and keep your self-talk constructive.
Don’t compare yourself to others, especially if you tend to put yourself in a negative light. You’ll likely find others who you think are smarter, better dressed, or more “original” than you. Just be you.
Try a new experience. New experiences will introduce you to new perspectives and concepts. You may not always like them, but they are ways to unearth what you’re passionate about and give you a new viewpoint.
Try being spontaneous and tenaciously participating in activities you normally wouldn’t do. If nothing else, you’ll have a unique experience and a fun story to tell others.
8-Step Process For Being Original at work
Many of us believe our jobs are stagnant. Meaning, we don’t have the autonomy that others do.
That’s not true. When challenged to look at their familiar jobs in an unfamiliar way, people will rewire their brains to take charge and create a more ideal role based on their ability to be original and in turn create in some cases better solutions.
Here is what one should do.
- Be optimistic always
Keep a positive attitude always and be optimistic. A pessimistic approach will keep not only your team members away from you.
Take up every opportunity or task as a challenge and work on it as much as you can with the attitude of a problem solver before you decline or refuse the assignment.
This can-do attitude will make you stand out among others.
- Listen to your peers
This is very valuable if you are working in a team. Your team members may have their own opinions just as you have yours. Express your opinions and allow them to state their opinions.
Together, you can work out on a resolution that works best for everyone.
Avoid using the term ‘I’, ‘me’ and so on. Instead of using ‘We’ and ‘us’ can go a long way in helping you to gain your respect and in turn being noticed in the team.
- Take a leadership role
Offer to lead the team when there is a group task or activity to be completed. When you demonstrate your leadership skills to be effective, you are very likely to be noticed at your workplace.
- Master your existing skills
This refers to improvising your existing skills.
For example, if you are great in analytical thinking and your job needs you to work on Java, take time to understand as much as possible about it.
Become an expert by learning more than about the coding than just the features you use at work.
You can also work on learning other software that can be used for analytical thinking.
- Voice your opinions
Do not hesitate in expressing your views about what you are confident of. However, remember not to be aggressive when you do this.
Talk about them as just your suggestion or what you would do in that particular situation.
- Learn something new
Attempt to discover a new skill that is preferably in demand even beyond your workplace.
If others are still thinking about this and you have become proficient in this, you have a good chance of getting recognized from the crowd.
- Adopt a sense of humour
Of course, you cannot always have fun at work.
However, displaying this trait can ease a tense situation. It can make people come to you when they are anxious about something and want to be calm.
One must understand when and how to use this trait so that you will get noticed by your employer.
- Show consistent accomplishments
The trick here is not what you do, but how you do. Put in your best efforts in everything that you do.
Compete against yourself each time and aim at doing better than last time.
Finally, you may not be able to master all the above traits in a single day or a week.
Some of them may take some time to develop. But, they are definitely achievable with determination on your part.
Also, they can help you uncover your hidden strengths and use them to bring out the best in you to stand out at your workplace.
How to answer, “What makes you different?” in an interview.
- Mention skills listed in the job description.
- Provide examples from your background. Reference prior accomplishments or results from past roles.
- Avoid generic phrases like “I’m a hard worker”. Make your answer compelling.
- Include key personality traits that will allow you to deliver similar results in the future.
- Tell the interviewer how your unique skills will help the company succeed.
In a world full of copies, be original!