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The Trouble with Following Trends

Posted by Kevin Kleitches on March 11, 2015

Pursuing Your Passion

Finding Yourself - Darren Mulvenna

Success is elusive.

Everyone wants it, but not everyone achieves it. There’s a reason why it’s called “chasing” success, after all.

Naturally, when someone figures out a strategy that yields desirable results, we seek to emulate it. Why work harder than you have to when a formula for success already exists?

This makes sense in the short-run — it’s a smart way of moving forward when you’re just getting started in your craft. But there’s a point of diminishing returns — a grey area between inexperience and mastery — where being formulaic compromises your potential.

If you wish to stand out from the crowd, you can’t keep following trends. You can bet that the latest fad in the industry has already spread like wildfire, making it not nearly as effective as it once was. Following trends is a constant race against the clock, where you’re scrambling to take advantage of the small window of time before the well is dry.

It’s much better to innovate. This requires being unafraid to go against the grain, to break the rules, to shun conventional wisdom. Standing out from the crowd means pushing the envelope, boldly exploring unfamiliar territory and discovering new methods — some effective and some not — until you find something that works.

The caveat? It won’t be easy. It might not work the first time. You’ll probably fail for a while.

But that’s exactly the reason to do it.

People constantly emulate rather than innovate because it spares them the hard work of failing. But failure is a necessary component to success — it brings you that much closer to finding out what does work. And when you’re original, when you execute on something you’ve never seen done anywhere else and find success, suddenly you will be the one people are emulating.

And when that happens, it’s time to switch things up again. Because why pursue our craft if we’re not constantly pushing our limits and learning something new?