The Age of Personalization

The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive.” ~ Bill Watterson

I’ve written about the value of straying from the herd. Focusing on your value by not being like everyone else. 

By being different from your competitors (seperating from the herd) you focus on the value you bring, not your skills. Everyone has skills. Many are the same as yours. Skills are commodities and those that focus on skills alone are easily replaceable.

By focusing on value you demonstrate that you’re an asset to the organization or team. Value though needs to align with the needs of the person making the decision to hire you.

Dark Horses and the Age of Personalization

In their book, Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment, (Amazon Kindle link) Todd Rose & Ogi Ogas profile people who triumphed against the odds of life and their professions. They were dark horses — “winners nobody saw coming.”

While the stories of these dark horses were fascinating, what stood out, for me, was the discussion on how an emerging Age of Personalization — where individuality matters — is transforming the way we think about success. The authors note that we’re moving away from wealth and status in favor of personalized “happiness and achievement,” or the choice to pursue fulfillment.

Dark horses were successful because they pursued fulfillment over the traditional trappings of success from the Age of Standardization — an industrial economy, dominated by large, stable, hierarchical organizations, and the pursuit of excellence led to fulfillment; individuality was problematic.  

The Age of Personalization flips this around by noting that the pursuit of fulfillment leads to excellence. 

Get Better at the Things You Care About Most

The key to attaining fulfillment and excellence is an empowered mindset that fits unique circumstances to unique interests and abilities. And the circumstances providing fulfillment differ for each individual — there’s no such thing as one-size fits all fulfillment.

The trick to fully developing one’s potential and achieving satisfaction and happiness is predicated on four criteria:

  1. Know your micro-motives, which are composed of strong and abiding feelings deeply rooted in our unconscious self.
  1. Know your choices. There’s a difference between choosing — an active process — and picking — a more passive process. We pick among the choices someone else has made. By choosing we create our own opportunities, not those determined by others.
  1. Know your strategies. Standardized institutions assign a strategy to be followed by everyone. In the Age of Personalization, we choose our strategies based on our unique strengths, which are dynamic and shift over time.
  1. Ignore the destination; that is, focus on the opportunity at hand, rather than the prospects at the end of the road. 


What do you think? Can you shift your mindset to thrive in the Age of Personalization, where you can find fulfillment? 

Or, are you more comfortable in the Age of Standardization where decisions are pre-determined by others?

Can you focus on your passion, purpose, and achievements to define your unique mastery?

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Image copyright: starush