I get it. Sometimes going with the flow makes running a business a little easier, especially if things are on auto-pilot. However, there are occasions when you need to stop following the crowd. The most successful entrepreneurs didn't get where they are by taking one path -- they were the trailblazers and trend setters, outshining their competitors in a completely different color. So how do you do it?

Think different.

First, you need to rewire the way you look at the world and the products around you.

Remember the first computer? It was big & cumbersome but unlike anything before. It made life less taxing, more exciting, and added a layer of sophistication and novelty to work. Sure, those legacy models eventually became obsolete, but it was nothing short of remarkable at the time.

You should treat everything you see around you like it's that first-generation computer -- it's great for now as long as there's nothing better to replace it, but it's only a matter of time until it is replaced. The same goes for ways of doing things. Each method that encourages productivity is valuable, until another, better way is invented. Get the picture? You don't need to completely reinvent the wheel, but they can definitely be upgraded. When you change the way you look at everything, there's a deeper appreciation for the products we often take for granted in our day-to-day.

Recognize success isn't all about hard work

Here's a scenario:

You want to be best in your chosen field. To accomplish this, you're going to work harder than everyone else and just by putting in the time knowing that it will pay off in time (whenever that may be). Possible? Sure. But, you're still going with the flow.

By putting in those hours, you're essentially leading the pack (of that same flow). Sure, the sheer effort may yield short-term dividends, but truly successful business people find novel ways to solve problems that meet the collective needs.

Don't be fooled by all that is great in being 'resilient' and 'capable'. Do you know what happens when you burn the candle at both ends? Both of them burn out -- it's not sustainable long-term. Working smarter will make you remarkable, not solely by working harder. You must balance both.

Get out there and start trailblazing

If you want to be outstanding, commit to daily brainstorming, and don't stop. Be unconventional. Consider the opposite of what your competitors are doing. Anticipate their moves like a game of chess and make a strategic, forward-thinking decision. Educate yourself on trends and anticipate where new ones will emerge.

Embrace this new way of thinking and a life of remarkable fulfillment and success awaits.

Published on: Jul 31, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.