How to Increase Your Authority by Going Against the Grain

We seem to be enthralled by those who see success by taking uncommon paths. A person making a good living running a small business is more impressive in our perception than someone who works a common office job making the same amount.

With all things considered, many would go to the person who runs their own business for advice on how to do what they do. Since the office worker would be seen as common, the fact that they make the same amount of money wouldn’t entice anyone to inquire into their ways.

The person paving their own path in this life would be perceived as an authority of sort thereby. We’d be enticed to ask them how they managed to do what they did, and how we can get started on doing the same.

The common seem to be attracted to the uncommon – a thing the uncommon can use to their advantage in many ways.

This article aims to remind you of the relationship between being seen as common in a certain field and the perceived authority you possess in that field.

Specifically, this is written to remind you to inflate your perceived authority by doing visible things the average can’t relate to in your domain.


The Religious Upbringing

Though the Bentley example above is about a person who’s already become wealthy, deviating from the average is not a luxury only the wealthy possess. The deviation from the average can be segmented to encompass a wide variety of acts you partake in daily.

We often elicit the opinions of those we perceive to be less common. A friend who’s grown up in a very conservative religious family is often interesting to interview about certain aspects of religion. Their experience would make them an authority on growing up in a strict religious setting. They’d provide us insight into how we grew up ourselves, and we’d be able to trust their authority on the subject to learn more about conservative religious upbringings.

Though another individual may have studied the religion in question to a point of knowing just as much as your friend does, your friend’s uncommon experience of growing up the way they did would grant them a perceived authority on the subject.

Since living the religious life would be less common / more difficult to replicate than studying those who do, your friend would have the advantage of being seen as more authoritative than someone who’s simply studied his religion.


The Motorcycle Owner

At the moment of walking through the office door, the coworker who shows up with a motorcycle helmet tucked under their arms is more interesting than the one who drove to work in a car.

On average, it’s not a reach to assume that the person with the motorcycle helmet receives a warmer greeting on average than the one without. The amount of questions about motorcycles that person would find themselves answering would rise based on a knowledge others assume they’ve attained by owning one.

Your office may be home to a coworker who is such an avid motorcycle fan, that he / she knows more about them than the person actually riding one. Since they’d not have set themselves apart from the average with the purchase of a motorcycle however, their authority on the subject would not be recognized at face value.


The One Who’s Traveled to Tibet

You may deem yourself a spiritual individual. By meditating every day for years, studying spiritual texts, and soaking your personal experience in a broth of spirituality, you’d acceptably perceive yourself to be more spiritual than the average.

The social circle you surround yourself with may not know the depth to which you’ve led a spiritual life. They may know that you’re a spiritual person, but they may not view you as the authority on the subject.

As you find an open few hours to meet your friends at the bar one night, you discover one of your friends to have traveled to Tibet over the summer. Though this individual has not been considered to be spiritual prior, they’re all in now.

You observe that your circle of friends is enthralled with this person’s experience in the monasteries, temples, and on spiritual tours. They ask questions, listen attentively, and express genuine awe.

This individual has deviated from the spiritual average in your friends’ perception. They’d have adopted an image of being the most authoritative figure in regards to spirituality by boldly deviating from the common man through the act of dropping everything and going to Tibet for a few weeks.


Marketing Your Website Online

When marketing an online business, the average new business owner will explore ways of marketing which are easily accessible to most who try.

They’d post their product on social media sites, forums, and news aggregator sites. They’d explore methods to gain free publicity prior to differentiating themselves or electing to pay for ways to market their product.

The race they partake in would be common at the start. The things they do wouldn’t differentiate them from other online business owners who aren’t set to succeed. As someone who prides themselves on being above average, their attempts at exhibiting authority in their realm of expertise would not be felt by the average looking on.

This business would be viewed as a new online business doing the same thing any other new online business does. It wouldn’t have established itself to be unalike any one of their competitors. Those competitors would thereby be enticed to attack this business’ perceived authority since they’d see themselves competing in a very similar race by using very similar methods.

A new business owner would thereby benefit in how authoritative they’re seen by having as little in common with other new businesses as possible. Though many aspects of running a business aren’t easily controllable at first (such as revenue), other ones are.

The way their website’s styles, which marketing method they use, how accessible they appear to be, and how they run their social media campaigns can all be set to be dissimilar to an average competitor in their field.

In such a context specific field, you’d need to analyze and study what the common competitors are doing. Your authority as compared to them would improve once they’re unable to relate to, and replicate, your methods of marketing online.

Some ways to go against the grain in the realm of online marketing:

  • A unique, unreplicable story
  • Choosing not to run popup ads
  • Electing to not spam links to your site on social media
  • Providing valuable information for free rather than charging for anything of value


Your Measurable Results Should Be Similar to Those Who Take the Common Path

The confidence you show when you elect to steer away from the average in your situation, seems to encourage an air of authority to surround you.  They audience wouldn’t know whether your unconventional methods are effective or not at first glance. All they’d see is that you don’t look like, or partake in, what the average, common, people in your position look like and partake in.

In order for your deviation from the common be effective, it must come with comparable results (at the very least) to those who venture down the common path.

The premise behind this article thereby, is that one’s authority in a field is perceived to be higher if that person takes a unique path toward the same result. Since they’d be seen as masters of a specified way of doing things that not many do, they’d enjoy the benefits of that perception.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.