Be Yourself: Simplicity and Difference

There’s been a lot of coverage on the quote “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” (Oscar Wilde). It’s timeless and powerful.

Two major challenges in today’s highly competitive environment are difference and simplicity (converting complexity to be understood). Understanding what you can be the best in the world at, and building upon this, will help you become great (as an individual or company).

In the book ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins talks about the ‘Hedgehog Concept’, which describes three simple points of understanding and the vital intersection between them:

  1. What can you be the best in the world at?
  2. What drives your economic engine?
  3. What are you deeply passionate about?

There are many designers that are passionate about what they do, and believe they can be the best in the world, but fail to understand their economic engine. On the contrary, companies generally understand this, yet lack insight into what they can simply be the best at, which goes far beyond a core competence, or discovering what makes them passionate. You need all three to be great.

Great possibilities and creative dreams often fail to convert into great realities because difference and simplicity isn’t achieved with one big idea. Individuals, companies and their brands scurry around trying to be all things to all people rather than focusing on their one powerful idea, and this is when they melt into mediocrity.

Be yourself. What’s your big idea?

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