How to Stand Out from the Crowd

stand out from the crowd

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.

5. Smile

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

stand out from the crowd

Recommended Resources

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22 thoughts on “How to Stand Out from the Crowd”

  1. Thank you Gabe for this uplifting and encouraging post. I really connect with # 5. In particular I try to smile at people when I make eye contact as I walk down the street. Some years ago I discovered one day that I would kind of stare at people as I walked by them, with a sort of zombie look.

    Everyone in the big city seems to do it, but when I realized what I had been doing I decided to change my pattern. I made a habit of only looking at people if I intend to have some kind of friendly interaction. It’s not easy, and you have to make it a real smile or people don’t respond. But when I am able to offer a genuine smile I get back all kinds of interesting response back, smiles and other engaging gestures.

    This is a very literal way to stand out in a crowd.

    1. Thanks Craig! I hear you about the ‘zombie look.’ I think we can all relate to that. But’s it’s amazing how things change when we get rid of the zombie look and trade it in for a simple smile.

  2. Fantastic Post – It’s incredible how simple it is to create a synergy in a group with easy solutions such as; smiling, genuine interest in other people, remaining positive when it would be so easy to criticize, and overall just being more involved as you have mentioned. I have recently learned how exciting it is to find success for others and worry less about my success. The best part is that I find success as well. Thanks for your simple yet insightful post! Best Wishes.

    1. Thanks Sam! I agree that it’s a pretty easy solution, yet it’s so positive and can change so many things. I’m glad that you know how exciting it is to find success for others, while finding your own success!

  3. Great post Gabe! All your points are valid and useful.

    Another helpful step for standing out from the crowd is to be a leader of something. Making the transition from a volunteer or individual contributor to a leader adds significant differentiation from the crowd.

    Becoming a leader isn’t always as hard as it may seem. One of the best ways I’ve found to become a leader is to serve in clubs or organizations. These groups can always benefit from additional leadership.

    Thanks again Gabe.

    1. Great point Bryce. It’s always good to take leadership whenever we can because it really helps us to grow. It is indeed easier than people think; sometimes it’s just about stepping a little bit out of the comfort zone and taking action.

  4. Sometimes asking questions can be intimidating, especially if we feel they are ‘silly’ questions. But it can hugely pay off, we learn, ohers learn and all is well!!

    1. It is intimidating to ask questions, but I think sometimes it’s just about going for it instead of waiting on our feelings. You’re absolutely right that it will pay off in some way. Thanks for the comment Kate!

  5. I love this part:

    “We should [stand out] 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.”

    I find that one of the best ways to stand out in a crowd is to be the one who cares… the one who people can always look to be energetically present when they are talking, compassionate when they are upset or happy, and overall cheering them on. People can feel it, and it boosts them up.

  6. Hi Gabe,
    This is really good advice. I’ve never really thought about this topic before. You are right about how easy it is to become dormant. This is where feelings of being stuck come from. My whole life I’ve tried to blend in, or shrink myself away from people. My low self-esteem wasn’t exactly encouraging me to put myself out there. But as I get a little older I worry less about what people think & want to take my own path. It is important to surround yourself with positive, successful people. Now I’m starting to take up room in the world & it feels great!! Keep up the great work Gabe!
    Take care, Dandy

    1. Thanks Dandy! :) I agree that feelings of being stuck come from being dormant and not making postive changes. I’m glad that you’re taking your own path and taking action as well as feeling good about it! That’s good to hear. Take care Dandy.

  7. Standing out in a crowd is not very difficult if one really wants to boost one’s confidence and self-esteem . I strongly agree with the point where you said asking questions make you stand out of the crowd . Besides enhancing your personality it also gives you more recognition from your seniors and others for that matter.
    How Good Are Your People Skills?
    This test finds out how well you interact with others. – http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/peopleskills/peopleskills_instructions.asp

  8. When you made a point about getting involved, I immediately thought about volunteering. I can’t believe that I have not done any in years. It’s something that was so close to my heart before, something I was very proud of and now it’s been years.

    Thanks for the refreshing post!

  9. Hi Gabe!

    You have a great thing going here, sparking up my thoughts on what areas to write more about. With this post, I have already readied two more “little” topics to write about, particularly in getting involved and staying connected with people. Of course, it’s going to be opening the doors leading to better and meaningful involvements, or the most effective ways to bond with really nice, positive people.

    So for thank, THANKS a lot, Gabe. Your post has inspired ideas. And everyone here would agree, it’s not just me. :)

    One idea on standing out: Be simple. Because everyone else is crazy about being attractive, colorful, magnetizing and all that. Most likely, you’d sure be a relieving sight. Or presence. Or sound. Just keep it simple. But real.

    Now for that, thank you for the space, Gabe! LOL!

    Do keep it up!

    ~Arina~

    1. Wow, thank you very much Arina! I’m glad I was able to spark up some thoughts in you! And you are very welcome. :) You’re right about being simple; it saves time and energy, but still helps you in many ways.

  10. Excellent post. Smiling is key for me, I’m not a ‘smiley’ person so I always find it an effort to be conscious on when I’m not smiling. But, when I do – it really makes a difference to me and the people around me. :)

  11. Very inspirational. I really relate to the feeling that competition is to tough, and have felt defeated in my goals to be an entrepreneur. I can totally relate to #1 and #4. Getting involved is the most important adaptation in my life. I went through college and never joined any clubs or associations. Now, I search for new ways to engage with others who share the same interests as me. I also used to shy away from asking questions in fear I would sound dumb. It is so important to just ask how. Great blog.

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