Listening to him did serve as a good reminder that you can’t stand out if you just keep doing the same thing everyone else is doing. You have to be willing to try something different, to actually BE different than everyone else. Such a valuable lesson, no matter what your chosen vocation.
I think the advice holds up, whether you want to talk about art, writing, career, or being a better person/friend. Sometimes standing out is as easy as smiling or listening, because it is different from what most people do throughout their days.