That is why I am going to spell it out for you, in five different varieties.
- Compare and Contrast. No matter how much you've heard this before, comparing yourself to someone else as a ruler to measure up to will send you flying to the finish line of the loser race. You are not the other person/company/business. You will have different abilities, values, outlooks and perspectives. What works for you may not work them, and vice versa. Instead of looking to someone as a pattern to follow, try learning their style and then staying on the opposite lane of it. After all, customers don't want two identical places to shop, they want variety. So offer it.
- Don't Be A Copy Cat. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, they say? Nonsense. Imitation is the biggest facade for lack of creativity. If you like somebody's idea, don't just steal it and try to cover your sources, honor the originator by giving them credit for whatever ideas you borrowed, and then add your own twist to it. No one likes a copy cat. Again, NO ONE likes a Copy Cat.
- Laziness. Nothing in life is free. It always has a cost, whether its money, time, energy or thought. Don't start a project without drive, and don't drive without inspiration. Have you ever started to read a book and fell asleep on line three of page two? It's probably because the book lacked a brilliant plot, and the thing with brilliant plots in life, is that they require imagination. Do you really care about your business/life/relationships? Then start cranking the wheels of imagination and then put them into action.
- Giving Up. All roads in life have bumps, narrow parts, and even the occasional pothole. What you do when you reach this point is what will make you or break you. The time to shine comes when you know you may lose, but you give it your best, and prepare for the worst. Granted, it's easy to say you manage, but when a breaking point stands before you as a looming obstacle, what will be your course of action? The strength to move forward, to persevere, even though this may mean sometimes admitting your own mistakes- shows true character and credibility. And that makes you stand out from the crowd.
- Fear There's no way around it. You have to take risks. Or better yet, take risks you can live with. How else would have Avatar made it huge on the big screens or Star Wars into a classic? You don't think their peers looked over, jeered, or even mocked them until there was no tomorrow? Life is about taking risks to stay fresh- to prove interesting at every bend. So take a couple you are comfortable with. Whether they work or not in the long run, at least you will have gained expertise until you find your comfortable footing and the groove that works for your career/company/life.
Remember, never sacrifice honor to be an imitator. We don't want to see you be the exact replica of someone else. We want you to wow us by just being YOU.