Thinking is the highest paid activity in the world. One new idea can generate trillions of dollars in revenue and change the way people live.
Unfortunately, most people are copycats. They look at something that is already successful and try to mimic it.
Every year I get a handful of emails from men who have decided to quit their jobs, or drop out of school, to “make money online.” Almost all of these guys end up failing and at least one ends up in financial ruin.
This happens because they try to copy successful websites and businesses without adding any new ideas to the mix. As a result, they never come across as anything more than a poor imitation. And nobody wants to do business with them.
When you follow someone else’s lead you are always one step behind.
If you want to be successful you need to think for yourself. To help you with this, I’ve prepared two easy tips that can help you to create your own original, and profitable, ideas.
Do The Opposite Of What Everyone Else Does
( In The Dip Seth Godin explains why you can’t blend in with the crowd)
The easiest way to stand out is to simply do the opposite of what’s popular.
When people race to copy what’s popular they all blend together into a murky blob of mediocrity. Additionally, because there’s nothing new being offered, potential customers take one look before saying “Who cares.”
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid getting lumped into the pile of “who cares” copycats. Don’t follow their lead.
As Earl Nightingale famously put it:
Whatever the majority of people are doing, under any given circumstance, you do the exact opposite. You will probably never make another mistake as long as you live.
When you go against the grain two things happen: (1) You get free publicity because of your unusual stance, and (2) you will capture an audience who the mainstream doesn’t appeal to.
To give you an example of how this works, I’ve come up with a few generic article headlines as well as their opposites. Read through them and think about which version sounds more interesting:
“15 Tips For Carb-Free Dieting”
“Why Doughnuts, Beer, And A Cigarette Are The Perfect Post-Workout Meal”
“Why Saturday Night Is The Best Time To Meet Women”
“Why Saturday Night Is The Best Night To Stay Home And Play Video Games”
“How To Make Money Online”
“Starting A Website Is The Dumbest Way To Make Money, Here’s Why:”
Each of these opposite headlines makes a bold proclamation that stands out from the crowd. Even the most die-hard health nut would be hard-pressed not to click on an article proclaiming that cigarettes are healthy.
A recent example of a business using “opposite thinking” is Cards Against Humanity’s “Buy Nothing From Us For $5” sale. They earned $71,145 and didn’t have to ship a single product.
If you’re ever in a creative slump, try going against the grain.
Combine New Things
(Adding horses to a dating simulator is pretty weird)
If you do the same things as everyone else, you are going to end up with the same results as everyone else. And those results will be average at best.
In order to succeed you need to step outside your comfort zone and try things that no one else in your field is willing to do.
You don’t have to be Steve Jobs to be an innovator either. A lot of businesses have made a fortune by simply combining existing products or processes and turning them into a “new invention.”
In the 1950’s the Celentano Brothers combined the “flash-freeze” method of preserving food with their popular line of homemade pizzas. Their invention, the “frozen pizza,” became a huge success and created an entirely new industry. Today over 5.3 billion dollars worth of frozen pizzas are consumed each year.
Another example is the “cocktail” boom of the 1950’s and 1960’s. American soldiers stationed in the Pacific came home and opened Asian themed bars in the United States. They took existing drinks, like the Singapore Sling, and combined them with Western bar culture.
One of the easiest, and least expensive, ways to inject new ideas into your business is to go on Reddit every morning and click the “Random Subreddit” button. Once you end up on a random topic, spend a few minutes reading through different posts.
Reading random forum posts about strange subjects has given me tens of thousands of dollars worth of good ideas. My all-time highest performing sales letters (selling $400 worth of orders last Friday alone) came from an idea I got while reading about a topic I was previously unfamiliar with.
Oftentimes you are one interesting story, cool fact, or little-known statistic away from success.
Copy someone else and you never come across as anything more than a poor imitator. People will describe you as “so-and-so but not as good.” And that’s a description no one wants to have.
In order to do well you have to separate yourself from the herd. And the easiest way to do this is to think and act unlike everyone else in your industry.
When all your competition is doing one thing, try the opposite. It will save you from being lumped in with all the other clones and knock-offs. And being original will give you a unique platform of your own that naturally grabs people’s attention and gets them excited to do business with you.
P.S. If you’re interested in reading more about creativity I’d highly recommend checking out A Technique for Producing Ideas. You’ll enjoy it because it shows you exactly how you can become a great thinker who comes up with all kinds of clever concepts.