“When you are content to simply be yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
The Challenge of Growing Up in Today’s World
Every record that once existed has been broken. High school athletes routinely beat previously world-class olympic records. Just as it was once thought no one could break the 4 minute mile, it’s nothing special these days.
Any intellectual, athletic or musical pursuit is frequently surpassed in terms of skill every year. Children can play Mozart now.
We are moving towards a more specialized, more highly skilled society. Skills that would have sufficed twenty or fifty years ago no longer will — thus there is an immense amount of pressure to become a specialist in some field or pursuit.
There is the inescapable pressure of constantly striving to “be someone” and “do something.”
Instead of trying out a variety of experiences, travels, and jobs, most of us are stuck in a time-sensitive period where we are focused on “achievement” and obtaining things that “prove” we have succeeded in life.
The Psychological Consequences
The result of this almost psychotic movement towards a more highly skilled [read: neurotic] work force is that we have acquired a disease through our toiling – the societal sickness of comparison.
I believe that few things take a larger toll on our happiness than comparison.
In a lot of societies, and sometimes in families, there is immense pressure to be competitive and constantly compare oneself to one’s peers. After all, the only measure of success is how well you do versus those around you, right?
Although that may work for motivation, and may encourage you to rise above obstacles, adversity, and to push harder, if your definition of success relies on others, you’re still a slave and far away from being happy.
Something I want you to ponder:
“Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people”
The important thing here: Replace “winners” with “people who enjoy life”, and replace “losers” with “people who don’t enjoy life [ that 99% ].”
Is your current definition of success based on what your siblings are doing? Based on what your parents did? Based on what your parents or family expect? Based on comparing yourself to your friends, peers, idols?
Or, is your definition of success based on how close you are to doing exactly what you want to be doing?
Milk that. Chew on it. Ponder it.
Comparison never ends well. You either feel better than someone, or feel worse about your current situation. Both feelings are hindrances to success.
Next Time You Catch Yourself Comparing
.. You had better actually catch yourself. Otherwise, you’ll continue to (falsely) believe that you are too fat, or too skinny, or too poor, or too dumb, or too weak, or too… something that you are not.
Quit comparing yourself to others. The only thing worthwhile comparing yourself to is what you want to do and the unlimited potential you have to pursue any path you desire.
What about if you encounter someone way beyond you? Just sit back in awe, and marvel at the creation in front of you.
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- What the hell to do with your life
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- Why pursuing success and searching for happiness actually make you less successful and less happy