Distinguish Yourself from the Crowd

Stand out from the crowdEver wonder how you should distinguish yourself from others? Did you want a promotion, a scholarship, someone’s attention or just a job? Or maybe you’re wondering why you need to distinguish yourself?

When I was 17 years old my friend’s dad told me that he never had unique talents or extraordinary gifts. He put in hard work and often felt that he had to try harder to get ahead of his peers. The key, he shared with me, was to distinguish yourself from your peers.

I thought about this for a few weeks and it made sense. If the majority of people are shooting for some common standard then they’re all going to come out at the same level. All I needed to do when I found myself in a competitive situation was to shoot higher than the status quo.

Sometimes we kid ourselves by saying “I gave it my best shot” when we know we really didn’t.

In the Army I knew to get promoted I’d be competing against my peers; friends that I’d known for months and trained with daily. We were measured primarily by our Physical Fitness scores, Weapon Qualification Scores and Initiative in Leadership. The hardest of these 3 was the latter. Initiative meant learning skills like calling cadence, volunteering for additional duties or being mentored by a senior ranking soldier. At first it can seem too tough to do in addition to getting a high Physical Fitness and Weapon Qual scores. I’m not a charismatic person and can’t sing on key. Calling cadence was humiliating for me at first. I was tempted to give up and just say I’ll let everything play out and let the chips fall where they may. Instead I took one small step and then another and then they became bigger steps.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~Michelangelo

Brand Yourself

If you’re skilled at something, work on it and show it. Don’t hide it where no one else can see you in action and come to appreciate your talents.

Bear Grylls didn’t end up on Man vs Wild by hiding in the wilderness.

Steve Irwin didn’t become the Crocodile Hunter by staying on “Walkabouts”.

Be the go-to person

Know when an opportunity will strike and make sure you’re there. I’m not talking about ass kissing. I’m talking about being ready and available to work. Show your enthusiasm and passion for what you’re good at. Be the go-to guy!

Don’t get stuck in the Crowd

The crowd is comfortable. To distinguish yourself you’ll have to step out. The crowd might even grab on to you. Don’t let them, Lead Them!

You ever notice who makes the news? It’s normally the ones who stand out from the crowd.

Stereotypes | Distinguish Yourself

Some Asians are athletes not Mathematicians; look at Jeremy Lin and Yao Ming. Some African American’s are authors not athletes; Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes. Some white men can jump; Brent Barry and his free throw line dunk.

Don’t let a stereotype dictate who you are.

Pursuing a girl?

You don’t have to act “cool” in front of your male peers to be “the man”. Be a man and show her chivalry is not dead.

What are you offering that’s better?

Looking for a job but struggling with selling yourself. List your core qualities and distinguish yourself. When writing your past experiences show how you stepped out of the crowd and led your peers.

Work smarter, not harder…..This is what it all comes down to.

See a solution that might require some hard work up front. Man Up and do it! Create a plan, stay focused, be fearless, put in the hours and achieve your end goal.

About John

Passionate. Life Learner. Thinker. Christ Follower. Investor. Conversationalist. Army Veteran. Dog Lover. Corporate Colleague. Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs fan. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. Dude, great post. Like a trader once said “with enough effort, you can be good. great is dictated by fate.”

  2. I definitely need to change things up in this area, especially on the job front. I had a job interview last week for a promising position. The interview went well and he told me I was a very strong candidate. Unfortunately there are so few jobs in my industry that they had lots of strong candidates. I really needed to have done something to set myself apart. I think I was actually a little too confident about getting the position and didn’t go the extra mile. Someone else must’ve.

    • I feel you…I’ve had that happen to me before. I think for all of us there’s always room to change things up. Got to stay fluid and ready change. Hopefully in your next interview you’ll be the One.

  3. You touched on some great points john. I learned a lot of this playing sports at a very competitive level. If you don’t show off your skills and basically sell your strengths, your going to be riding the bench of life.

  4. Great Post,

    I remember hearing a quote once that said something along the lines of “If you let your light shine, you empower others around you to do the same” So it’s important not to let a fear of what others might think of your confidence, stop you from achieving your goals. You might just inspire them to achieve theirs!

    No one ever achieved anything great by standing on the sidelines!

  5. Such a great and inspiring post (as are all your posts) John! I really enjoy reading what you write. It’s very uplifting and all so true. No one gets far by staying in the comfort of their boundaries…the greater the risk, the greater the reward. I’ll keep this in mind in everything I do, but I always want to be the “go-to” person at work and in life, sometimes I get overwhelmed. I need to focus on what I really want to do instead of everything haha.

    • Thank you Erika! That quote you shared has been one of my favorites since my teens. From your blog it sounds like you’re definitely pursuing your goals and achieving them. It’s awesome!

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