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Are you different – do you stand out?

Are you different – do you stand out? In the increasingly competitive world we inhabit, it becomes even more important to stand out from the crowd. How can you achieve that? The first step may be to realise the gulf between being different and being distinctive.

It’s easy to be different. A maverick is defined as a lone dissenter or wilfully independent. [1] In other words, the person who stands aside from the group. Is that enough in business? Might such a person be seen as simply not a team player?

If I were interviewing a self-proclaimed maverick I would seek evidence of a mindset that perceives and appreciates the significance of unexpected patterns. Numbers, for example. And why? Because such a person will have the creative curiosity to seek unexpected solutions to regular problems, spotting patterns that others do not see.

Earlier this month we had an unusual date, February 12th: 12022021 That’s a palindrome, which means it can be read left to right and right to left. But it is also an ambigram, which means it can also be read upside down (especially if it’s in the digital font).

Here’s an even more interesting number: 65359477124183. It may look random, but if you multiply it by 17, you get 1111111111111111.

If you are one of those people whose minds close down when face with numbers, please stay with me because it gets even more fascinating. 

Let’s multiply the original figure by 34 (that’s 17×2), then 51 (17×3) and so on. This is what you get (if your calculator can cope with the number of digits):

65359477124183 x 17 = 1111111111111111

65359477124183 x 34 = 2222222222222222

65359477124183 x 51 = 3333333333333333

65359477124183 x 68 = 4444444444444444

65359477124183 x 85 = 5555555555555555

65359477124183 x 102= 6666666666666666

65359477124183 x 119= 7777777777777777

65359477124183 x 136= 8888888888888888

65359477124183 x 153= 9999999999999999

The point about this exercise is that there could be significant patterns hidden in apparently unlikely places. All it takes is to find the key.

So what’s the point I making? Simply that it is essential to identify what makes you different from the rest. When an employer is recruiting, or when a company is researching the market for a suitable supplier of services, all candidates may seem as anonymous as the random number above.

In an attempt to stand out, some may aim to be merely different. The clever ones provide the key to their specialness. Then they become distinctive. And memorable.


[1] Judith Germain has been defin9ng Mavericks as wilfully independent people from 2005

Phillip Khan-Panni
Phillip Khan-Pannihttp://cvsthatwork.com/
Phillip Khan-Panni is a retired professional speaker and trainer, Fellow and co-Founder of the Professional Speaking Association and the author of 13 books, mostly on communication skills. Formerly Senior Copywriter at Reader’s Digest, London, and CEO of PKP Communicators, his career highs have included starting a Direct Marketing agency, MD of a magazine publisher and Express Newspapers’ most successful Classified Ad manager of all time, where he tripled revenue in under one year. He now lives with his wife Evelyn in Naas, just outside Dublin, Ireland, where he writes CVs for senior people and is active in Toastmasters International.

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