Often, we think the way to stand out from the pack is to be better. And sometimes that is the answer: to become an improved version of who you were yesterday, to do what the “other guy” is doing with a few added features. However, this is often a losing strategy, as you are making iterative improvements on someone else’s work. A better way to become world-class at what you do is to change the game completely. Don’t be better; be different.
“Just be yourself” is probably the worst advice we could ever receive or give. Few of us actually know who we really are. And yet, if we can acquire this art of self-awareness, everything changes.
Recently while speaking onstage, I heard myself say something I didn’t plan on saying. I didn’t rehearse it. I didn’t have it in my notes. It just came out. The line was: “Sometimes, the good has to end before the better can begin.”
In life, there are so many decisions to make. And so it is with creative work. As is often the case, art imitates life (and vice versa). We are constantly choosing one thing over another. And this can be a real struggle for many of us.
Has a really good story every moved you to feel or to act? That is the true art of storytelling. Someone who knows this well and has honed this art is Scott Harrison of charity: water.