A challenging part of life is figuring out where your place in this world is. Many people may find that they never truly accomplish anything they imagined they would. Many people may realize that they’re nowhere near as successful as they intended to be. If you have any issues or doubts like these, the problem may not be yourself. At least not in the way you think it is.
The concept of success in itself is a term that originates solely from comparisons. Everyone alive can feel inferior in some sense if they compare themselves to the right person. Take for example Donald Trump. Take all of the emotions and feelings you have towards him out of the picture for a second. Trump is now the President of the United States and is worth billions of dollars. You can’t deny that he’s a very successful person to pretty much anyone’s standards. But if he compared his income to Bill Gates, who is worth almost $100 billion, then Trump would probably feel a lot less successful than he really is.
Stephen King is one of the most well known writers in the world who has written and sold more books than most authors could ever dream of. It’s easy to say that he’s an incredibly successful writer. But if he were to compare the entirety of his book sales, roughly 350 millions copies sold, to the single Harry Potter series which has sold over 400 million copies alone, he doesn’t seem as successful anymore.
The trouble you have with believing that you’re in a good place in life or that you’re successful isn’t actually what you’ve done, it lies with who you’re comparing yourself to. Stop comparing yourself to millionaires or celebrities. Don’t find the most successful person at your job and compare the car you drive or your paycheck to theirs. Instead, focus on competing with yourself.
In his Oscar acceptance speech, Mathew McConaughey stated that his role model for his entire life, the person he was always chasing and competing with, was himself five years in the future. That gave him a drive to be successful and always chase himself and not compare himself to others. It seems to have worked out pretty well for him.
Think about where you were five years ago. Even if you’ve lost a good job or gained a lot of weight in that time, there has to be an area of life that you’ve improved on. Now imagine where you’ll be five years from now.
Even when I was a special operations soldier, I never competed with the soldiers next to me. There was always someone faster or stronger than me, so I stopped trying to be better than them. I instead focused on being better than myself. If I went on a five mile run, I tried to run it in a faster time than I did last time I ran. If I worked out I tried to lift heavier weights than last time I was at the gym. I became my sole competition and I made more progress doing that than I ever had before.
It’s easy to feel like a failure comparing ourselves to other people who we know are better than us at certain things. What’s much harder to do is set goals for yourself that require you to get a little bit better every time and achieve them. People don’t become successful overnight. They do it by setting goals for themselves and pushing themselves for long periods of time.
You need to stop competing with every person around you and start competing with yourself. Be better today than you were yesterday. Tomorrow be better than you are today. Find what you’ve improved on in the past few years and decide how much more you’ll improve in the next few years. When you get there, repeat the process. Life doesn’t have to be about constantly feeling like a failure and letting the world bring you down. Make it about finding new ways to improve on who you are and what you’re capable of achieving.