Belief-Based Differentiation

I had an enjoyable exchange of ideas with Harvey Lloyd in which Harvey wrote, “People inherit the past saving ideas that stack up within the new saving ideas”. He went on and wrote, “Here it is commonplace now for us to tell one another how to live in order to be better”.

This made me wonder where authenticity is. If we stock old beliefs and instructions from others, how much authenticity do we have?

It is unfortunate that we do not apply the practice of FIFO (First In, First Out). We do the reverse and follow the practice of FI LO). That is First In, Last Out.

We inherit ideas, habits, beliefs, and rituals, and the longer we keep them the more difficult it gets to dispose of them. We feel we own these ideas, habits, beliefs, and rituals. They become part of us we resist changing them.

Change is fast. Our social habits are changing. Our lifestyles are changing. How and where we do our work is changing too. The way we sell and market is changing fast too. Amid all those changes our beliefs and ideas of doing business remain because we inherited how we do business or because the majority of businesses do it this way.

The Laundry Story

I recall that I gave a lecture in the UAE about creative marketing. Following the lecture, one attendee requested a few minutes of my time to help him solve his business problem of having only a few and sporadic customers. He told me he has better equipment than his rivals do.

I then asked him a few questions. I concluded that customers were loyal to the laundries that serve them. There was no clear differentiation. I then asked him about the operating hours of the laundries. He replied that they all work the same hours and almost all of them close their days around 7 p.m.

My advice to him was to move out of the red ocean and work mostly at night hours. He rejected the idea right away because he inherited the business from his father. I insisted that he try the idea and advertise that his laundry is available during night hours.

People who were in need to go suddenly to social activity and have their laundry done quickly were relieved to find a service provider. Six months later the man opened two branches as his business flourished.

Differentiation based on being controversial to the common beliefs is a strong differentiator because people resist changing their beliefs. They are trapped in old thinking and ideas that fail the test of time.

The literature is full of examples about companies building their strategies on false beliefs failed.

Success based on true belief today might become the source of failure tomorrow because the belief became false.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.


Building new ideas from inherited beliefs, ideas, habits, and rituals is the strongest differentiator for businesses to have if they themselves unload their old thinking and make it the first thing out.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. Brother Ali
    Love this. The laundry story is illustrative.
    Differentiation -requires doing something different -it’s right there in the word.
    We are all a collection of beliefs and habits:
    If we are FIFO (first-in-first-out) we are stuck in our ways -if we are a group of FIFO-ites we might say to others FIFO (fit-in-or-FO)
    If we are LIFO-ites -we might be perceived as wishy-washy saying only what they last person we talked to said.

    How can we know just where we stand –
    what is bedrock and what is sand?
    open to experience and as new ideas unfold
    Go through life making new friends but keep the old
    One is silver and the other gold

    People change with diifficulty, but only when there is a reason and they want to
    And we can’t ever change someone else
    We can show the reason and the benefit
    We can make it easy by offering company on the journey
    But they must choose.

    Thanks for this excursion.

    • The way you “played around” with FIFO and FILO is both amusing and to the point brother Alan.

      Love your thought “How can we know just where we stand –
      what is bedrock and what is sand?”
      It speaks to the heart of the post.

      Yes, change is self-initiated. Easier with the help of others, but it is our responsibility to change when needed. It takes courage.

  2. Change involves letting go of the old to make room for the new. Holding on to a past and present that doesn’t gratify you doesn’t give you a way to develop the part of you that you want to improve.
    It is not enough to desire a rebirth (whatever it is) without leaving your comfort zone and without rolling up your sleeves and working hard to achieve your goal.
    Everything changes, transforms, is born and disappears before our eyes. It is an unchangeable condition of nature. Knowing how to deal with change, knowing how to ride, manage or even provoke it means evolving, growing, improving. A happy and fulfilling life is a life that changes and develops.
    Within each of us are all the resources to make our life something great and meaningful. Thanks to a careful and focused use of our thoughts we can, literally, create our reality. What we choose to believe tends to happen. By taking control of our thoughts, we can take control of our life. A life no longer left to chance or at the mercy of uncertainties and a sense of inadequacy, but strongly inspired by deep values ​​and clear and defined objectives. Just go beyond (even slightly) the comfortable boundaries of our safety zones. The counterpart we receive is priceless: a free existence of which we will be the architects, the only ones responsible and the real protagonists.

    • Most insightful comment, Aldo

      When we lose control of our thinking we do lose a lot as you so well explained. The problem is when we allow biases to fill our minds and reflect to us the wrong thoughts. This results in great losses in opportunities to grow.

      I welcome your comment wholeheartedly.

    • Thank you, Charlotte.

      Creative questions make great difference. Your suggestion is an example of what I call Expansive Questions. They open the door for greater possibilities.