Question from a reader -
I often compare my life to others, especially to successful persons.
It doesn't do any good to me. I feel such an injustice and get angry
Even if rationally I know that it's stupid and that there are people
who got a way harder life than myself.
Do you know how to deal with that ?
I also compare myself to other people, but I try not to make value judgments. I go, "Okay, he's good at sales. I'm not so good at sales. Do I want to be good at sales like him? If so, I should ask how he learned and get book recommendations from him, and read them, and follow any advice he gives me." Or I say, "Ah, this guy knows a lot about design and I'm weak in that area. Do I want to be good at design...? Hmm, no, not really. You can't be good at everything and that's one I don't want to be good at. Okay, but he's good at it, maybe I could hire him or partner with him if I had a task that required great design and something I'm good at." Or, "Hey, this guy is superbly dressed, he really stands out. Huh, I think I dress well but he looks sharper than me. Let me observe and see what he's doing, perhaps I can learn from him."
I think the bad feelings aren't because of comparing yourself to others, which is fine and basically everyone does it. But rather it's likely because you compare yourself to others and then feel bad that you're not where they're at, and/or you don't feel like you could get where they're at. So I wouldn't recommend ceasing to compare yourself (everyone does this to some extent), but rather to use comparison in a way that's beneficial to you. IE, look for ways you can improve, work together, mutually gain, etc. This requires less value judging and more calm, rational analysis.
Hope that helps.
Yes, “You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it” is a bit worn and cliched. It is also demonstrably untrue. No matter how much I apply my mind to it, I'll never (for example). Some things genuinely are impossible. But that's not the question here.
A much better way of looking at it was posted by Judd Weiss a while back: What Are You Capable Of?. Not "You can do anything", but "What one man can do, so can another".
The timing of this post is almost uncanny... Being in a similar situation, I find myself getting discouraged.
I think what's more discouraging to me is whether I can admit to myself or not a if a particular skill or trade is within my abilities or not. I find it difficult to accept that I'll never be able to do certain things because of pure genetics/circumstances. The old adage "You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it" is easily gobbled up by self-help/self-improvement junkies...
I. This post outlines Patrick McKenzie - a brilliant technologist and entrepreneur - how he's done such amazing things and learned so much, and why he's getting drastically underpaid and how it's his own fault. This post will be most valuable for technologists who underestimate themselves and undervalue themselves.
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Usually, I feel really blessed that I'm able to travel 15 hours and 19 minutes drive from my family for college and I'm still able to keep in touch with them through the internet and my phone and all the wonderful technology we have today. But sometimes, I think it makes it worse. Maybe I would miss my friends and family more if I had to wait for letters to arrive to hear from them, there's really no way to know.
Today, I really feel like the technology we have access to makes it worse. Having the ability to know how someone is feeling, what they're doing, and where they are, practically any moment of the day can be really heartbreaking.
I've been thinking a lot about a great friend of mine from back home. I've been crying on and off today thinking about him and being excited (and also nervous) to see him again in 6 days after not seeing him for 4 months. I've been texting him, asking him how he's doing, what he's up to, trying to connect with him through the distance. He takes a long time to respond and when he does, he replies with short generic phrases. I know that he misses me too, that's not my concern. It's just sometimes really frustrating to be having a really bad day, full of missing someone, and then to find that the person you're missing so much is having a full and busy day, hanging out with their friends and laughing and enjoying themselves. They're not really missing you.
As much as I want to seek comfort from him that it'll be okay and that I'll see him soon, I don't want to pull him from his fun and bring down his mood. I end up feeling jealous, and sometimes worthless- like I cant have fun without him, like I dont have any good friends other than him. While I know these things aren't true, I still constantly compare my life to his and I end up putting myself down because of it.
I can't help but feel that the immediacy of the contact we're able to have despite our distance adds to this. I just don't see this being a problem in the days of letter writing.