Ways to distinguish yourself #189 – Disproportionately shift the baseline over time

Ways to distinguish yourself #189 – Disproportionately shift the baseline over time

By Rajesh Setty on Fri 11 Jul 2008, 6:05 PM – 5 Comments

Think about any reasonably successful person and you will see that his or her career path will be plastered with a series of successes and failures. While the media and the outside world may only paint a picture of what his or her successes are, the person will know clearly how the career was a roller coaster ride – up, down, up, up, down and up and so on.

When you plot this typical graph, you will see spikes on both sides of baseline.

However, you can make a difference by consciously working on disproportionately shifting the baseline to your advantage. In simple terms, you can do it by disproportionately investing in yourself over a long-period of time. The components that can disproportionately shift the baseline to your advantage are different for different people. For me (I think) these components are:

* A strong personal brand

* Solid long-term relationships

* High Leverage Thinking

* Access to powerful mentors and teachers

* Continuos learning

* Strong spiritual foundation

Baseline in my definition is the powerbase that a person requires to have to make a  valuable contribution to the marketplace with the current reality. Every year, the person’s capacity increases – shifting the baseline. For example, experience will shift the baseline to the next level – it has to. There is (generally) a difference between what a person with one year experience can produce as compared to what a person with two years of experience can produce. The graph below factors in the “standard shift” in the baseline for a typical person. This means that year over year if you increase your capacity that you are expected to increase anyway, the graph does not show any change in the baseline. That is what is expected of you from the marketplace – so there is no special consideration.

And a few others that are personal to me. I will aggressively disproportionately invest my time, energy, money and other resources in all of the above

For you, they may be different. You and your mentors and teachers can figure out what those are for you and start investing heavily in developing them.

As the baseline shifts, your swing to success and failures won’t matter much as they are operating out of the new baseline that you have created for your own case.

As your baseline deviates from the standard baseline in the marketplace, you start gaining competitive advantage that is hard to beat easily.

Any model that results from careful long-term investment and growth strategy will always have an advantage over the models created based on “short-term” and “fly by night” strategies.

All the best and have a great weekend.


Note 1: For links to the other 188 entries in the “Distinguish yourself” series, please visit my Squidoo lens on the same topic:

Squidoo Lens: Distinguish yourself

Note 2: The first 25 entries in the series have been packaged in a ChangeThis manifesto that was published on September 07, 2005. You can download that manifesto here:

ChangeThis Manifesto: 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself

Note 3: My latest manifesto on ChangeThis was published on August 8, 2007. Here is the link:

ChangeThis Manifesto: Making the Most of Your Time: Going Beyond To-Do Lists


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5 Comments so far, Add Yours

Venkk Sastry  on July 12th, 2008

Good point Raj. I agree with you on shifting the baseline. The secret sauce lies in how one perceives so-called “failures”. If one looks at his failure and recognizes the hidden opportunity of learning he has shifted his baseline upwards.



Subba Reddy  on July 18th, 2008


Thank you for all your good posts.

I like the following two posts so much I had printed copies in my cube at work so I can refer them often. I believe these are so close to realistic approach to achieve long term success.

– 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself

– Making the Most of Your Time:Going Beyond To-Do Lists

Rajesh Setty  on July 18th, 2008

Thank you Subba for your kind comments.

My new manifesto on ChangeThis will be published in August and I will post about it as soon as the manifesto is released.

Thanks for your support. Much appreciated.



Siva  on August 11th, 2008

Hi Rajesh, Thanks for yet another masterpiece.. I have been following your distinguish yourself series and find them really useful. Keep them coming.. Cheers.. Siva

Rajesh Setty  on August 11th, 2008

Siva, thank you for your kind comments. Means a lot to me.

Have a great week ahead.



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