5 reasons you don't want to be like the next guy


f you’re like the next guy, you have some serious thinking to do. There may be pressure to fit in and conform with others, but the consequences can be deadly; it’s simply not the place to be if you are looking for a successful and rewarding career.

When you are ok with blending in with the person next to you are committing the following mortal sins.

You become wallpaper

Wallpaper is background; it provides a convenient backdrop for the action going on in the foreground. Do you ever notice wallpaper? You might if you are looking for wallpaper but it’s a temporal thing: after you’ve seen it, it soon fades and gives way to what is going on in front of it.

Think about when you decide to change the wallpaper on your device. You notice the various choices when you are looking, but once you’ve selected one that you like, it soon becomes subordinated to the apps and webpage shortcuts that populate the space in front of it.

Being like the next guy is being like wallpaper; people may notice you for a fleeting moment but then you disappear.

What you need to succeed in the long term is sustainability in terms of being noticed by people who can influence your career.

You become immune to risk

It’s comfortable being like the next guy; there’s little personal risk and you’re rarely in trouble. Blending in allows you to float around unexposed to all onlookers.

The problem is that being comfy makes you risk averse and you tend to avoid circumstances where you have to step outside your comfort zone.

Being like the other guy robs you of the desire to take a chance because you don’t have to; it’s not necessary when the crowd governs the outcome for you.

A career suffers when an industry is not prepared to take reasons risks; innovation in any organization is impossible without a certain amount of chance.

You can’t deal with conflict

When you’re like the next guy, you rarely have disagreements with others; you avoid conflict by having similar personas to those around you and no reason to fight for your own ideas.

It provides an artificial (and unhealthy) environment for the lookalike who grows up being extremely uncomfortable with differences in opinions and incapable of dealing with situations like this when they arise.

Being able to handle conflict is necessary in today’s world where the issues are so numerous that a myriad of opinions will always exist and to survive, people have to know how to put up their opinion and fight for it in a respectful way.

Those that can’t navigate through the opinion maze will stay in their herd — comfortable but unsuccessful.

You think life is about best practices

When you’re like the next guy, you’ve already decided that the next guy represents your aspiration; the person or set of competencies you believe will make you successful. And you live your life believing that emulation is the way to successfully meander your way through the challenges and roadblocks thrown in your way.

Looking at what others do and copying what you believe to be the “best” becomes your modus operandi and you judge your worth if the image you see in a mirror is someone else.

Being like the next guy forces you build yourself in someone else’s image, to copy what another person has created and follow what some call best of breed. This is not a recipe for success; it’s a path lacking originality and uniqueness and one that leads not to rewards.

You are constantly in the stall mode

When you’re like the next guy, your life is punctuated by fits and starts; you have no forward momentum because you have no plan that is special in terms of how you intend to meet your personal goals. You are in the hands of others with no control over what you want to achieve or how you intend to achieve it.

As a result you tend to be in a perpetual stall mode waiting for the wind to either olift you up or force you down.

Being in the stalled mode wastes you of the most precious commodity there is — time. While you wait for the next guy’s energy to propel you somewhere, the people around you who choose to standout and be different from the next guy pass you by.

There is absolutely no redeeming value being like the next guy; it’s sinful and will rob you of your future.

Be different. Be unique. Be special. Be you.

It’s the only way you have an exciting life and a chance to win.
Written by Roy Osing
A leading executive in Canadian business and a recognized content marketer, blogger, speaker, seminar leader, business consultant, educator and personal coach.

Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.


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