Precision Makes You Stand Out

Many do it, that thing you do. So to stand out, you must adopt a more precise method

Image of a Photo by Andrea Sonda on Unsplash

Many do it, that thing you do. So to stand out, you must adopt a more precise method

When I was a younger man in business for myself, I was utterly unbearable when it came to quality. The guys I had working for me back then were worn out by my insistence that standards be met. Every time, I insisted that things were done in a particular way, and when they weren’t, I let them have it.

Now my management style could be heavily criticised and perhaps with merit. However, I had no room for lesser than I was prepared to bring myself. It was why I landed contracts with Intel, US Govt., and other international companies. It was a natural consequence — it was Purposeful Accident in motion.

At home, my wife says I’m a pain. She calls me a perfectionist. Now, that might be true in certain respects, but in others, I am certainly not a perfectionist. The back gate, for example, is hanging off the hinges for the last few months and I’ve done nothing about it. The toilet bowl has no seat for the last two years, and the toilet roll holders are broken in both bathrooms. I’m looking at the kitchen floor right now, and the job I did sweeping it earlier is mediocre at best. Also, I could market my online stuff much better than I do, but I couldn’t be arsed.

So you see, I’m perfectly capable of leaving things unfinished or doing a poxy job with them. However, there are other things where I am hyper-focused and productive. When it comes to my work, stuff I genuinely care about, I have an unshakable intent to do the best damn job I possibly can and for no other reason than it interests me enough to do so.

Back in the day, I stood out, eventually. It really didn’t take very long after I decided to do my own thing, but on the other hand, you could say it took ten or so years for the big break to come. I just needed to trust the process, be prepared to fuck it up and eventually I’d get the inevitable surprise that was coming my way.

This is my entire philosophy for life, and this afternoon my 12-year-old son reminded me of it.

It was a stupidly, simple thing. He made a peanut butter and jam sandwich and left the knife dirty on the counter. He left crumbs around the place and both jars on the counter with lids off. No surprise there, he and his brother leave mayhem behind them everywhere, and it’s a constant battle to make them conscious of their need to clean as they go.

So I showed him, calmly and precisely, how to clean the very sharp utility knife and put it back in the knife block. You could say that perhaps I was overly attentive to the detail of the thing, but I’d say that the attention to detail in these ordinary everyday tasks is what will serve him later no matter what he decides to do with his life.

They are the kinds of principles that will make him stand out on the football field, in the gym, at his studies and work. Even in his relationships, attention to detail is where the gods reside.

In a world where mediocrity is encouraged and blending in is safe, precision makes you stand out — end of story. And despite the inevitable challenges and consequences that this standing out from the crowd brings, it has ultimate merit over being the same as everyone else.

Cian, thanks for the reminder today.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. I also write on The Creative Mind. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters

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