I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how to be of most value to my readers.
It can’t be with generic list-based articles. (Although I stand by the ones I’ve written!)
Ryan Daniel Moran is a guy who’s inspired me a great deal. (Check out his blog here)
He says one exercise he uses for refining his message is to imagine you were on a plane for a couple of hours and the person you sat next to was interested in learning what you were teaching.
What would you tell that person?
So that the person, upon landing, was able to put what you discussed into practice to change their lives.
So, when I started to go through the exercise, I thought about the importance of fit, what correct fit is, the basics of a strong wardrobe, putting an outfit together etc.
But something didn’t ring quite true for me.
Would this information truly kickstart a change in that person’s life?
What would be my success rate? How many people would be able to put this into practice and succeed?
If it isn’t going to work, then what’s the point?
So I wondered what would increase that success rate?
I watched a video by Simon Sinek that changed the way I look at behaviour forever.
In this TED talk, Sinek says most of the time we fail to start with the Why.
Instead, he argues, we start with the What, then the How, then the Why.
To resonate with people, however, we need to start with the Why. This is the part that appeals to the ‘feeling’ part of the brain. Not the rational, logical part, but the emotional part.
Sinek applies this to marketing, such as when explaining Apple appeals to consumers more than Dell. Both sell great computers (the What). Both sell the How. But only Apple truly sells the Why.
Sinek argues that Apple found their raison d’etre and started from there. They sold the counterculture, the rebellion, the attack on the status quo and that’s what consumers bought into. They bought why Apple existed before they were convinced about Apple’s products.
They bought the Why before anything else.
Why does this matter?
In our plane example above, I could give you all the ‘What to do’. And some of it might stick. Some of it might not.
Unless you were particularly motivated, you would forget it, like you probably did with the trigonometry you learned at school.
So then, both of our time’s been wasted and it would have been my fault.
The responsibility lies with the teacher not the student.
So then let’s start with the Why.
We’ve been through the benefits before and I’ve a feeling that this doesn’t resonate as much either (perhaps due to a disconnect between the proposed benefits and the causes [being well-dressed]).
There must be a deeper shift that is necessary within the student.
I think it’s this.
We all want to stand out.
Our fear is being average.
If we are okay with being average, then there’s something fundamentally wrong and we’re not admitting it to ourselves.
We express this need to not be average in a wide variety of ways.
For many, it’s their looks.
For others, it’s their tastes and values. (e.g. foodies, culture vultures, etc.).
Most people want to stand out in some way that’s important to them.
One of the easiest and most visible ways to do this is through how you look.
You can control the shape of your body.
You can control your grooming, such as your haircut, your facial hair and your personal hygiene.
You can also control what goes on your body.
Your style, if it’s good, will communicate to others that you don’t believe you’re average. By extension, you won’t be average.
Putting this into practice.
It’s actually impossible to say you’re average.
Say it out loud ‘I’m average’. If you can, shout it.
For me, I couldn’t get the words out. My mind rebelled. I couldn’t even finish the word ‘average’.
How about you?
I’m guessing you couldn’t. Saying it makes you feel like a loser.
Our instincts recoil at this. Like something shameful.
The next step is the logical follow on from this.
If you don’t want to be average, then what can you do to not be average?
At a minimum, go against what’s average or improve it.
In terms of dress sense, look around you.
Look at your colleagues. Look at your friends.
If you don’t admire their dress sense, then their dress sense is average or worse.
You’re probably seeing a lot of slightly baggy clothes, trousers that are bit too long, scruffy shoes, polo shirts etc.
Don’t be average.
Commit to being above average or better. Or the best.
Say it out loud.
Stand up and exclaim, ‘I am not average. I commit to being better than that. I want to be the best.’
It’s not silly. If you’re embarrassed, then we have deeper issues!
Shout it: ‘I am not average. I commit to being better than that. I want to be the best.’
Shout it 10 times!
That’s our starting point!
We commit to not being average. One way we express that is in differentiating ourselves from the herd.
Now we’re ready to start with the building blocks of achieving great style.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.