Being in constant connection with a world of people means we often see posts about others’ success while we rarely see their failures. As a naturally passionate, competitive person and a frequent perfectionist, I have to admit that seeing the triumph of others who share my interests has, at times, made me immediately feel defeated. I think we’ve all been there.
Why do we do this? Why do I do this? Why when we see another person excelling do we often start focusing on their success while perceiving it as our shortcoming? Envying someone who is accomplishing things I’m striving to accomplish doesn’t make me any closer to success. What it does do, however, is flood my thoughts with words of inadequacy and frustration and bring my insecurities to the surface. It takes my attention away from my progress and turns it to what other people are doing instead. “Their success is not my failure.” I never really thought of it this way before. Watching other people succeed does not result in me failing or losing, but my attitude can dictate if that happens. I can easily make myself a failure.
If I find myself feeling less than accomplished in these situations, I try to reflect on my goals. How badly do I want it? Am I willing to put in the effort? If I’m just casually putting in the work and continuously knocking it down on my priority list, I need to realize that this goal may not actually be as important as I think. On a separate note, having clear goals, I’m finding, is necessary. Whether they’re career goals, fitness goals, or daily tasks, if they’re not clear then they won’t get accomplished. And they can’t be ambiguous goals either, like “get better at…” For me, they need to be spelled out so I know exactly what I’m aiming to achieve.
our struggle to
celebrate each other is
what’s proven most difficult
in being human. -Rupi Kaur
We should be using others’ successes as inspiration. If anything, it shows us that these goals are achievable. These people accomplishing remarkable things are also just people. They may have had different opportunities or strengths, but at the end of the day they’re people who’ve had to work hard, too. If it’s been done, it’s possible. If it’s not been done, I could be the first to do it. Letting others’ achievements bring us anything but inspiration will only hold us back, divide us, sour our attitudes, and bring each other down. How incredible would it be if we spent more time empowering each other instead? Pretty damn incredible.