The Distinguish Cycle – Where do you want to begin?

For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you know that one of the themes on the blog is how to escape the prison of commodotization – being one of the many.


Simply because commodotization erodes value.

If you are valuable and can distinguish yourself, you can claim a premium in the marketplace.

Of course, nobody is smart to be able to permanently distinguish themselves because for anything that is getting a premium, there are others who will follow suit and compete for attention until that “anything” is commodotized and loses the early premium that marketplace awarded.

So, how does one continue to command a premium?

For starters, there are two ways:

1. Continue to accumulate valuable accomplishments – It’s easy to duplicates strategies and tactics but it’s hard to copy valuable accomplishments.

2. Continue to innovate: If you are changing the game all the time, it’s hard for someone to copy. People can copy if there are set of rules. If the set of rules keeps changing, they won’t know what to copy until they figure out a pattern. By the time they have figured out a pattern, you move on to a new game.

Ok, we are getting ahead here. The topic of the post is to discuss the “Distinguish Cycle” and to keep it simple and actionable and then build on it in the future posts.

Here is the distinguish cycle.

Think about it for a second. You can start wherever you want in the cycle and work through the other parts.

For example, you can start and move in this fashion

1. You can BE a different person to start with

2. You will SEE different things as a result of that.

3. When you SEE different things you don’t have a choice but to THINK differently.

4. When you THINK differently, you will PLAN differently.

5. When you PLAN differently, you will DO different things.

And, hence

6. If you DO different things, you will BE a different person

You can play with the cycle and you will see that you can start anywhere else and lead to the same conclusions. All parts are important and no part can be skipped.

My personal favorite is to start with THINKING differently.

How do you start that?

By rubbing shoulders with people who think differently. A few decades ago, this was hard to do. But today in the digital age, you get an opportunity to do that simply by following a set of blogs, Twitter accounts or websites.

When you are exposed to thinking that’s different, you don’t have a choice but to think different. Without your knowledge, you will set forth to transform yourself.

Once you THINK different, it’s easy to set the the distinguish cycle in motion.

Here are a few resources to trigger that much needed “THINKING”

1. PSFK – Innovation and Trends Research

2. SpringWise – Innovative Business Models from all over the world. (Hat Tip: Dan Pink)

3. Seth Godin – Daily dose of simply brilliant thinking

4. Innocentive – Companies looking to pay money for innovative solutions. Take a look and see what problems they are trying to solve.

5. TED Talks – Brilliant insights in less than twenty minutes

6. ChangeThis – Manifestos that you can read in less than one hour

7. THINKaha – Our own series of bite-sized books for thinking people. You will be guaranteed to get a dozen “aha-moments” in less than 30 minutes
(Disclaimer: I am the executive editor for the series)

8. Lateral Action – Where creativity and productivity intersect.

9. Meylah – Resources for creative people.
(Disclaimer again: I am a mentor to the founders)

10. WorkHappy.Net – Killer resources for entrepreneurs

11. Lifehacker – Life hacks and more.

12. Creativity OnlineCreativity Online culls the best visual and idea-centric communication from around the world and the talent behind it

The above list is no way complete. Please add your favorite resources and I will update the list sometime soon with your contributions.