Be different, or else

By Ndumiso “The Urban Zulu” Mcube, Digital Strategist Intern

I frequently ask myself what’s the one thing that makes me stand out from other people in my profession. Currently I’m a Digital Strategist Intern at Hellocomputer JHB, and I often wonder what makes me unique from other interns in the same field. We often fall into the trap of trying to mimic individuals who we think highly of. That’s not entirely a bad thing at first but eventually as you progress and grow, you need to ask yourself, what’s the one thing will people remember me for?

Being safe and mundane is very dangerous in my opinion. You face the risk of not standing out and selling yourself short. Whether we like it or not, we are all salesmen; we sell who we are each and every day. We sell ourselves either through our body language, the way we talk and even by the type of work we produce. All these are touch points of who we are, and what makes us unique.

Recently I had a very inspiring chat with one of the creative technologists at Hellocomputer JHB: a fine artist by qualification, yet he does hardware programming/design. He’s the perfect example of how we should always continue to push our boundaries and not limit ourselves. It’s about mastering your one passion and then venturing into other avenues.

As a newbie intern, I have discovered a whole new side of technology and what role it plays both professionally and socially. I’m grateful for technology because it now enables us to “teach” ourselves new skills and enhance our current passions. We no longer have the excuse of not knowing; most graphic designers, artists, musicians that I know are self-taught.

A common trait that I have seen with passionate people is that they are very curious and driven. Basically they are not content with what they know, and they’re always on a journey of self-discovery, and that’s one of the reasons why I ventured into digital. I am constantly fascinated by how the internet works and how it links people together. My other passion is music composition. I am currently teaching myself how to read and write music, and I’m loving it. Next on the list is photography; I want to be able tell stories through a lens. I’m fascinated by my surroundings and I want to explore stories from different perspectives.

Being passionate, driven and unique helps you differentiate yourself from other individuals who do what you do, which makes you stand out from the crowd. And, being in advertising, we all know that it takes a unique selling point to build a great brand.

So, do the right thing and differentiate yourself… or else.