Are Unique And Being The Best Antithetical?

I once read a blog post that was supposed to be about leadership. It irked me so much that I had to write a blog post about it on my business blog refuting it. The topic was about whether it was better to be the best or even try to be the best, versus being unique when it came to getting business and leading others.

Silly snoopy snack bento

Sakurako Kitsa via Compfight

The way I’m wired, I believe it’s imperative that people always try to be the best they can be, and to be the best overall if possible. Being unique… heck, everyone’s unique when you think about it.

There are times where being unique can help, such as when you’re trying to catch someone’s eye if everyone happens to be very good. Unique can help one get sales whether they’re good or not, but being good, or trying to be the best, keeps people coming back for more.

Then there are times when being unique goes against you. Being a minority in America, I know I’ve lost jobs as soon as I walked in the door and saw the reaction of the person who had to interview me. And if you’re on trial for murder and you don’t really know lawyers all that well, are you hiring the unique looking guy wearing a cowboy hat and a bolo, or are you hiring one of those high priced guys wearing a $1,000 suit to represent you?

In any case, I’m not sure the two concepts of whether to be great at what you do or being unique are necessarily antithetical. Who wouldn’t agree that one could not only try to be the best but also be unique?

I know people who believe that everything Apple is both unique and the best. I know people who believe Ferrari’s are both unique and the best. Personally I think Snoopy is unique and the best, but at a different time I thought the same about Bugs Bunny and Kermit the Frog… even if no one else did (they were wrong of course lol).

I’ve indirectly talked about this all these years when it comes to blogging. Often I see what looks like the exact same content and the exact same lists and the exact same words and the exact same recommendations coming from different people in exactly the same way. Even if it’s good advice there’s nothing unique about it.

At a certain point it’s not even great advice anymore. All it’s doing is parroting what someone else has previously said, while not offering anything that’s even close to great or attempting to be great. I add that because greatness is pretty subjective based on whoever is doing the evaluation when all is said and done. In any case, it’s certainly not unique.

I tend to write about some of the same subjects as other people. I also try to put a different spin on them. For instance, I wrote comparing blogging to a poker tournament, comparing blogging to traveling through airports and learning how to write evergreen content because of reading Harry Potter. I’m not going to go out on a limb and say all of those posts were great (the last one was lol), but I think they’re all at least pretty good.

If you can be unique while at the same time give your all to whatever it is you’re writing about, all anyone’s going to remember is the entertainment and education you gave them. Frankly, I can’t think of anything better than that when it comes to blogging… well, maybe getting a lot more comments would help. 🙂

I’d like to know your thoughts on this subject, but with a twist. I don’t always ask for comments on a post, but I’m changing up just this once. Many long time readers know that I remove lousy comments. Let’s see if some of you newer commenters can leave a response that’s either great or unique while still addressing the topic.

In other words, put your mind to use on this one; unique or great. Otherwise, you’re not even trying; hey, I did use the word “antithetical” after all, and I’ve even linked to it in case you need to refresh your understanding of the term.

Educational and entertaining; that’s what I was shooting for. 🙂 Let me know your thoughts.

8 thoughts on “Are Unique And Being The Best Antithetical?”

  1. Hi Mitch

    I’m coming down on the side of “best.”
    That’s mainly because I don’t think anything is, or really can be, unique.
    Everything has been said since the beginning of time.
    It all just gets reinterpreted for the moment you are in.
    I know I write all the time about things people “should” already know, and have probably already heard.
    But if I can make them think a bit broader or deeper… then I’m trying to do something better for my particular audience at that particular moment.
    Interesting topic, my friend 🙂

    1. Thanks Donna, and obviously I totally agree with you. Creativity has its place, but at the end of the day I’m probably buying McDonald’s fries more often because I think they’re the best. 🙂 I figure I’m already a different kind of writer than the norm, so it’s worth my time to keep trying to be better than unique. Appreciate your perspective on it.

  2. You know you had me at “antithetical.”

    Seriously, though, I think you’ve shown that being the “best” is subjective, to some degree, while being unique may be the very thing that makes you “the best” in someone’s eyes.

    1. I also said that being unique has probably kept me from getting contracts, which means they could have cared less whether I was the best or not. When all is said and done, I’d rather work to be the best and work to hopefully get those whose business I want to see me the best. Tough enough already being unique in my industry.

  3. Two instances come to mind.

    As a fresh salesman all of 18 years old, I was attached to a Supervisor to be trained. He taught me the first lesson about careers that lasted my entire working life and stood by me during my ups and downs. He said “Be the best among the pack and build a healthy bank balance.” I could understand the former but, sought clarification on the latter. He said that even being the best in the pack, one will face stupid (he used a different word!) bosses and a healthy bank balance would ease quitting and finding new employment.

    The next was a seasoned old Manager who was my mentor who taught me CCDO.

    Connectedness, Constancy in the connectedness, Dignity and Opportunity. The words should be descriptive enough but, would be happy to elaborate if needed.

    1. I totally understand both concepts Ramana, and there’s no way to dispute them. I’ve found that in some industries there’s not many people who can legitimately call themselves the best, but hopefully there’s others who are important enough to believe they’re the best and help them advance in their career. I think unique has its place at times, but I’d rather strive to be the best that I can be.

  4. Goodness, every idea I have runs down a rabbit hole. Some seem arrogant and others too spiritual and esoteric for the question (hmm… back to arrogant.)

    At the risk of sounding like a junior high coach I will say that anything worth doing is worth doing as best as one can. We may end up being the best, but that is always up for grabs.
    You’re better at some things (i.e. being a father), I am better at others.
    I agree with you about the fact that we are all unique. But the older I get the more I recognize the oneness in all of us. Uniqueness has its drawbacks. “Muy raro” is really just a Spanish term for oddball.
    Yet it is our acknowledgment of who each of us is deep down that creates our connectedness. And I agree with Ramana, connectedness is necessary for anything. If we don’t connect – who pays attention anyway?
    Stop, Lynda!

    1. I’ve always believed that if you’re going to do something, try to be the best at it. I know I can’t be the best overall at everything, but I can be better by trying to be that person. I’ve also known that if I wasn’t interested in trying to be the best at something then that wasn’t for me, and I’d give more attention to things I felt were important or more to my liking. That felt like the smart thing to do; luckily it’s worked throughout my life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *