The Art of Differentiation
We, humans, have always been good at noticing what’s compelling about others. Our species’ survival has depended on our ability to recognise strengths and weed out weaknesses. Today, that skill leads us down the road of unhealthy comparison. We have no trouble rattling off the positive attributes of a colleague, competitor or even the guy working out next to us at the gym. And yet we struggle to be as generous about our own.
It’s fine for Roger Federer to study a competitor’s gameplay before they go head-to-head because he needs to respond tactically in the moment. But the majority of Federer’s winning shots come from understanding his strengths and working on what he does well. Becoming more of who he is gets him over the line.
It’s doubtful that comparing yourself or your work to someones else’s will get you to where you want to go. Whether as an individual or a brand—you can’t own your unique identity if you’re spending the majority of your time looking over your shoulder. Differentiation happens when you authentically amplify the best of you. Not by finding ways to be a version of the competition, but by discovering how to be more of who you are. That’s where your search for clarity needs to begin.
Image by Marianne Bevis