One of the biggest dissatisfactions afflicting our society and generation is the constant comparison of oneself and others. Whether it be via manicured stories on Facebook, self-promotion on LinkedIn or salacious gossip, we are constantly assaulted by messages of our own inadequacy.
I see my older peers doing brilliant and wonderful things and I have circumstance-envy. Whether it is the degree awarded from Harvard, running a business or creating a comfortable lifestyle, there is always something they have that I do not. This tends to either make me sad, or throws me into a frenzy of adding new skills to my arsenal.
E.g. Hey, Jack ran a marathon. I’m going to run across the Sahara backwards! Oh, Charlie just got a great research post – I’m going to apply for a NASA Space Program!
Gosh I sound silly.
Why does this affect me so much?
Perhaps it is the encouraging upbringing that in some ways, makes one self-deserving. Perhaps it is a competitive mindset developed through sport. Pressures to fit an image of success.
Whatever the cause, deep down I see character traits and abilities that both myself and my peers share. Because of this I feel I could do all the things that make their careers special, resulting in frustration that right now, I can’t.
Unfortunately this silly belief means I try to bite off more than I can chew. All at once I try to do research, write blogs, run miles on miles, learn a language, learn a computer language, devour a reading list.
In the end, despite all endeavours being admirable my efforts become so diluted none seem worthwhile.
This sudden redundancy strikes me when I’m tired or stressed, resulting in a storm of existential crises. This is paradoxical! All these projects are designed to make me grow into a richer person, make me healthier and happier.
I’m fortunate that I have people to talk to and flatten these silly beliefs when they rear their heads. Some people do not, with the toll being deep-seated unhappiness, depression and insecurity, or suicide.
As they say, it is the dose that makes the poison. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours house. Comparing yourself with others is a recipe for disaster. You see the best of them and are blind to the best of yourself.
It is imperative to be comfortable with the successes of others.
We all have our own callings in life; It would be wrong for me to envy my successful peers. It is also wrong for me to attempt to emulate them or follow the same career path. The people I look up to are successful because they are truly passionate for their subject.
My own career will be successful if I show the same passion towards my own vocation.
Find a passion and make it work.
Don’t overload your life with dependent projects.
Chill out more. You don’t need to have an iron grip on every turn Life makes.
Enjoy the process of developing through life. Look past youth and see how many years are ahead of you. It’s shocking.
One way to get happier? Get off Facebook.
It’s a great tool for keeping up with close friends and family, but unconsciously scrolling down your newsfeed is hellish.
Thanks for reading!
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