I’m realizing it’s very common for people to get caught in the trap of using another person’s model or measurement of success as their own. There is always a societal measure where we compare ourselves to our neighbors and there is success in your social status, your income, the people you know, your family; what you have both monetarily and personally. However now it’s been kicked into hyper-drive with the Advent of the internet and social media. Now we can compare ourselves to people all over the world and the top 5% are more accessible than ever. We can watch the Kardashians’ both on their show and on social media, there are YouTubers we follow, Instagram influencers in our feed and there is even the people you went to school with who moved from your town and found their success. With all of that, I’m realizing that for many people it becomes common place to use that person’s accomplishments or successes as a comparison chart over their own life. There is an important distinction to be made between using another persons life and work as an inspirational model and using their life as a comparative analysis model. Someone can inspire you and therefore you’re taking things that they have done and using it to inform and better your life. But when you go down the rabbit hole of having their life overlaid on your own to then make some kind of statement of your own successes it becomes a very damaging thing.
Soon after you compare your lives, you start thinking about their wins as somehow damning to your wins. They aren’t enough. They’re small. Insignificant. Then it becomes an attack of your character or personality. I’m not as hard working. I don’t have as much charisma. I don’t have good ideas. Or maybe you create a negative narrative about that person in order to take a break from feeling bad about yourself. They’re only successful because they’re good looking. He isn’t even that talented. She is just sleeping her way to the top.
You may recognize this kind of speech because you will see a lot of it in hate comments or maybe you think that way. It is very damaging on a person to constantly think this way. That person will find themselves depressed because all of this is damaging their sense of self worth. It becomes very limiting because depressed people do not make decisions in a healthy way. Have you ever found yourself thinking that your idea or something you wanted to do because it’s not as good as “…” Or it won’t be as successful because you’re not “…”? I think a lot of people cut themselves off before they can even try to execute any risky idea. They look at someone else’s life and think on one hand “I can do that” and then in the same breath they find a million excuses why they haven’t done it.
Instead you should compare yourself to yourself. Come up with your own measure of success for your life and work on besting the version of you from yesterday and today. If today you hate your career and you are 20 pounds overweight and have let your personal relationships dwindle to nothing, then decide how you can improve those things and what you are willing to do and work on being a better version of yourself tomorrow.