Who is the best competitive swimmer in the world right now? Michael Phelps. You knew the answer, I’m sure. You might not even follow the Olympics, or any sport, but you still know who Michael Phelps is. We remember him and his record-breaking eight gold medals (and maybe we remember him for another, slightly less impressive reason).
But what about the swimmers who only won one gold medal? Or a silver? Or all the swimmers who qualified for the Olympics—something most people on the planet could never do. They’re all better at swimming than the rest of us, but we don’t know who they are. If the goal is to be remembered, to get noticed, to gain the world’s attention, better is not better. Different is better.
The other day in my Break to Fix post, we talked about doing that ONE thing that you shouldn’t do in order to get noticed. What if one of the Olympic swimmers did a cannonball into the pool instead of diving? He’d probably lose, but he would get noticed. And we’d remember him, too—likely forever, as he would be immortalized in every “memorable moments in Olympic history” video montage until the end of time.
All these incredible swimmers practice day after day, year after year, trying to get better. Countless hours are spent simply perfecting the dive into the pool or trying to shave just 0.01 seconds. Yet with no practice at all, any swimmer could get into the annals of swimming history by cannonballing into the pool, or better yet, doing the classic third grade can-opener jump.
There are millions of ways to be different. It’s really not that difficult to come up with ideas that are as easy to do as a cannonball. The key is to make sure whatever you do is authentic to you, and that you back it up with the goods. I suspect you’re up to that challenge, since you’ve been trying to be better anyway.