Kids always made fun of the way I dressed. I had two shirts and two pairs of jeans for the whole school year. That’s all. I had cheap shoes. For dinner our family had beans every night, literally. We drank powdered milk. I brought peanut butter sandwiches to school every day with homemade quince jam. I was different.
We were paying a price. It was worth it. My friends had nice stuff while we saved and scrimped for every penny. We did something they never did. Each summer we went traveling in our VW Camper Bus. We visited most of the USA, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe and Africa. Most summers we left school two weeks early and got back into school two weeks late.
Being different is not being inferior. It can be a distinct advantage. Be different in a way that can make you superior.
How can you be different? What can you do to dramatically improve over the long run? I know two guys who never walk anywhere in the office without having a manual in their hands to read as they walk. They are both considered a little odd, but they are both the undisputed technical experts in their field. They are paid well for it.
Your goal should be to out-prepare and out-perform everyone else in critical areas.
Critical areas to stand out in are the most visible areas that:
- Earn money
- Save money
- Improve customer service.
Here’s how you find the critical areas for your next promotion, raise, or job: Ask.
Your boss wants you to be more valuable, he’ll help you. The people you look up to at work will want to help. Go ask them what you should excel at.
Then do it. Do it in your own way. Eccentric flair or plodding dullness does not matter. Just excel IN A WAY THAT MATTERS. It will change your life, not just your pay and job title.