The world is full of competition. There’s always somebody else trying to out-run us so that they can get to the top. This can be discouraging because we might feel we can’t compete on their level. But I think we should see competition as a good thing. It helps us to stay motivated in the things we do, and it helps us to do better for ourselves and others.
Sometimes we get to a point where we just kind of lie dormant, not really progressing much in our lives. For example, sometimes in our careers we lose hope and think that there’s just too much competition and there’s no way for us to get ahead. Simply put…not true! Part of wanting to make positive changes in your life involves giving yourself that extra boost to stand out from the crowd.
1. Get more involved
One of the best things that we can do for ourselves is to get involved as much as we can. It keeps us connected to the world so that we can interact with other people, especially successful people who will help us in our own success, and it helps us to keep ourselves open to constant learning. You will also develop leadership skills by being involved. You learn from other leaders, and the more you’re involved the better chance you have to become one yourself at some point. There are lots of things you can get involved with like music groups, church groups, or conventions and seminars. By being involved, you constantly keep yourself motivated and confident instead of being bored and feeling like you can’t push yourself.
2. Stay connected with people
You’d be surprised how difficult it can be to stay connected with even some of your closest friends. For example, I have a Facebook profile with many friends on my list. But up until recently, I only stayed connected with a very small percentage of those people. So one day I decided to make a change and initiate contact with some of my old friends. Every week I’ll message a couple or few friends. I have had very good results because of this. I’ve rekindled old and good friendships, I’ve learned a lot of neat things from them, and I’ve gotten into some very deep and meaningful conversations that help to give me a new perspective, which gives me that extra boost I need to stay motivated in life.
3. Sit up front
I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s a good things to sit toward the front of the class in school. When you sit in or near the front row, you are more inclined to pay attention, learn more, and keep your focus. Well this can apply to many situations. At work I have found it very beneficial to sit near the person leading the meeting. I do this for the same reasons I mentioned above; I’m able to absorb more information, show my interest in the meeting, and make myself more valuable to stand out. When I get out of the meeting, or if I get out of a class, I also get an extra motivational boost from knowing that I was engaged in the meeting the whole time and absorbed valuable information, rather than feeling bad and discouraged for not learning as much as I could had I distanced myself.
4. Ask Questions
One of the best things that we can do to stand out in front of everyone else is to ask questions – no matter how crazy or ‘stupid’ the question might be. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Asking questions keeps you engaged and shows that you’re interested. The most successful people at my work are the ones who constantly ask questions. This also shows your humility; you are showing that even though you might be successful, you still have a lot to learn from even those who are less successful. This impresses people and helps you to grow as a person. By doing this you are also an example to others. You show others that it’s OK to ask questions and not know everything.
I put this on the list because it’s probably one of the simplest yet very important change we can make. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t smile. Sometimes I’ll walk past co-workers throughout the day and they just don’t smile. I used to not really want to smile especially on a Monday morning. Then I decided to make it a habit, even if I didn’t feel like doing it. By making that very small, yet simple change, I noticed how much brighter my day was, which in turn prompted smiles from my co-workers, made me more productive, and greatly increased my mood and confidence. Sometimes even the smallest changes can bring significant results.
* * *
It’s possible to stand out from the crowd and do it to benefit ourselves and those around us. We should do it to be an example and contribute our gifts and talents, rather than seeing this as a way to get ahead only for ourselves while leaving others in the dust. Pushing ourselves past our limits and standing out brings many positive changes to ourselves and those around us. What do you think? What are some ways that you have made positive changes and stood out?
Photo by Robert Swier