September 5, 2015
If you’re like me, every time you see somebody who’s accomplished something that you’d like to do, you immediately start wondering: “How did they do this? What do they have that I don’t have? Am I not as talented as I thought I was?”
Here is some difficult advice to follow: Don’t worry about them. (I suppose the real audience for this post is me.) You shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling this way — I think everyone does. But you have to focus on achieving your own goals. Thinking about what others are doing won’t help you do that, because:
1) It’s unlikely that you can follow someone else’s path to success.
Great achievements are hard to copy. That’s what makes them great.
For example, if they got lucky, you can’t copy that. Or if they have an innate talent, you can’t copy that, either. If they are spending their time or energy differently, you can copy that, but wouldn’t you be better off choosing a path that is matched well with your skills and talents? If you’re a good writer, rise to fame by blog, not by networking like crazy.
2) You’re comparing your inside to someone else’s outside.
Sure, that person started a successful company already - in your field! They’re already a noted speaker at conferences. They’re married and they have two kids and a house.
That’s what you see, because that’s what you care about. But what tradeoffs did they make to get there? You don’t see that. How much might they feel like a failure in some area of life in which you take your success for granted?
3) You will never run out of people to compare yourself to, no matter how successful you are.
If your accomplishments relative to others’ were a good success measurement, you should able to “win” eventually. But it’s unlikely that you ever will. What’s more likely is that you’ll keep resetting your frame of reference.