Life is not short, but it is timed To realize your potential, dare to be different | Sunday Observer

Life is not short, but it is timed To realize your potential, dare to be different

I did a management audit recently for a client who was wondering why his company was having a very slow growth. When I studied the information he sent me and perused his annual accounts and website, it was obvious what the problem was: The company simply didn’t deserve to be there.

Let me explain. It’s a fairly small company that sells some common but specific type of office furniture. While they have a niche for the type of furniture they sell, for the most part it’s nothing that you can’t buy for cheaper prices at other office-supply stores.

I found they don’t do much marketing either, and their website had very little information about the products, nothing beyond the typical manufacturer’s description. More importantly, I couldn’t find any unique selling proposition (USP) although they said they had great customer service.

I told my client, if he wanted to realize his company’s full potential, it should be different from others. And, I told him how to achieve that.

Dare to be different

The same rule applies to personalities, like you and me. But first, do you understand what it means ‘to be different’? It means not being afraid to challenge the norm; willing to take chances; making one’s own track, not just following the well-trodden path; charting one’s own destiny; being the person you were meant to be.

It’s not difficult because each one of us is born unique. Throughout the years, we work hard to be like everyone else. We try to conform to society’s ‘etiquette and decorum.’ Yet, success finally goes to those who are willing to break those barriers and be different in ways that bring value to themselves.

Discover your differentiation

Let me ask you five questions to help you discover your differentiation:

1. What are the activities you perform that are truly different from those which others perform?

2. What are the similar activities you perform in different ways to others?

3. What characteristics or traits do you have that are unique to you?

4. What resources do you have that are different from those of others?

5. What is the primary differentiated value you bring to people in your life?

These questions may not be easy to answer, but how you answer them would reflect whether you have a dream in life or not.

I believe one of the main reasons people just follow the herd is because they don’t have dreams. If there is nothing to pursue, why bother being different? Not having a dream means going to mediocrity on autopilot.

If you do have a dream, here are some tips to achieve it.


1. Think big but move slow

Most average people are scared to think big and take actions towards it. They do what society or their surroundings expect them to do and rarely ever pursue things on their own. To avoid this problem, you must be willing to think big. Set big goals and achieve them by making small progress towards them each day.

2. Think like those whom you admire

We all have heroes we look up to. So, think about what they would do if they were in your position. Would they keep working in a job like yours that shows no upsides for the future? If you wish to achieve something great, the time to do it is now. The first step is to forget everything that is holding you back from accomplishing your dreams. It’s scary at first, but it will set you free.

3. Forget money

Money should never be your main prerogative. Many of my friends are medical specialists or business consultants pulling in over Rs.5 M per year by age 45, but they hate their lives. They burn their entire youth on these jobs, and by the time they realise it isn’t what they wanted, it’s too late. So, focus on finding your passion. If you love what you do, the money will come eventually and on your terms!

4. Select peers carefully

Think of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Do you like what you see in them? Are they awesome people doing amazing things? Or are you hanging around with a bunch of unmotivated degenerates? Typically, you are a product of these five people. If your circle of friends isn’t a reflection of who you want to be, it may be time to find new friends.

5. Forget complacency

We are creatures of comfort. It’s understandable to get comfortable with your surroundings, your monthly salary cheque, vacations, etc. The problem is when we stop pushing ourselves to be the best we can possibly be. When you’re comfortable, you stop achieving. You hit a plateau and stagnate. When complacency prevails, enlightenment dissipates.

6. Forget the word ‘No’

Say ‘yes’ more. Saying yes will allow you to live the life the way it’s meant to be. You will meet new people and have new experiences. You never know where a new adventure will take you. Experience everything life has to offer.

life isn’t short

Some say life is short; So, why bother? My belief is that life isn’t short per se, but it is timed. Rich or poor, the only thing common to all of us is the inbuilt expiry date.

It’s up to you to decide what you want to do with your life before that date arrives.

We are trained by repetition to accept mediocrity as the norm. Yet, once we discover a passion, that attitude will begin to change. Sometimes, society tries to get in the way, sometimes it is the ones that love us, but if we persevere, we no longer have to live a mediocre life.

One day, after you die, if someone were to write a book about your life, would the title be something like “The tale of ----’s monotonous existence” or “The adventures of ----‘s exciting life”. The choice is yours.