So often when you’re working to accomplish something it can seem like everyone else around you is having effortless success, while you work day in and day out and seem to be standing still in comparison.
Why is everyone else so successful while I have to claw to the top with my bare hands for every tiny morsel?
Believe me I can relate. I work in the entertainment industry, possibly one of the most competitive industries in the world. Just about every task in the industry is incredibly complex. Every aspect of a film or multimedia project takes a long time and requires a great deal of attention and care. In the meantime, you have but to turn on your TV or computer or go to the movies to be reminded of everyone else’s successes. It can get downright depressing when you’re in the midst of refining every niggly detail on a project before you can release while a million other projects are released and the publicity for each one permeates the airwaves.
No matter what industry you’re in, if you’re facing challenges and see others who seem to be more successful then you flaunting their latest wins, it’s so easy to slip into despair. It’s easy to wonder if you should just give up. It’s so easy to start wondering if maybe you’re just not good enough or if you just don’t have the wealth and resources to succeed.
I’ve found, however, that each one of these moments of despair and self-questioning can in fact strengthen and empower you, if you can get out of your own way and look at your circumstance with a clear head.
Here are a few things to consider:
1.) The grass is Always Browner
If you’ve been working hard at attaining your goals, and jealously looking at the success of others, odds are that there’s someone looking at you the same way. It’s all a matter of perspective. If you think about it, I’ll bet you even know who some of people looking you jealously are. Reach out to them and give them a random encouraging word. It’ll help remind you of how far you’ve come too.
2.) The Grass is Always Greener Too
We all think that things must be so much easier for so and so. Sometimes we’re right. I know a lot of people in my industry who were raised wealthy (I was most certainly not), or had much more support from family and friends or just had an easy path for some reason. You probably do too, but no one else’s path is yours. You’re supposed to have the experiences you have. You’re suppossed to gain you success in your own way and under your own terms. Remember that you can’t be someone else but you can be an excellent you, and your unique contribution to the world is yours alone. It SHOULD look and smell different than anyone else’s and therefore you must take a different path to get there. Your unique experiences and struggles and successes are building something in you that will make you in to something very special. That’s a beautiful thing.
It never hurts to do a self-check and reevaluate if you should be on the path you’re on. Sometimes we get onto a path based on a whim and are too stubborn to give it up even when we don’t care about it anymore. Regardless, make sure you’re making a decision based on a combination of reasoned thought, intuition and on true self-awareness. Don’t quit just because it’s difficult, but don’t keep going if it’s really not for you anymore either.
4.) Use These Feelings
That being said, don’t let feelings of being second best or unworthy or underprivileged beat you into submission. Instead, use the fact that you’re having these feelings as a motivator to work smarter AND harder and succeed. Take a minute to mope if you must, then get mad and figuratively punch your self-defeating attitude in the face. No one ever accomplished anything truly extraordinary when it was just handed to them. If it’s an easy ride it’s not an accomplishment no matter how big it seems. So go accomplish something, something difficult and amazing.
5.) Why Are You on the Path You’re On?
Ask yourself why you started doing what you’re doing. If you have enough passion for what you’re doing then you’ll keep going no matter what. You’ll find a way and if your success takes one year or forty you’ll keep going because, what else are you going to do with your life? As one of my great teachers has often said, don’t be one of those people who ends up dying without knowing what it would have been like if they’d followed their bliss. If you are meant to do it, it doesn’t matter if you fail, only that you gave it everything that you had.
6.) Success Takes Time for Everyone.
You’re probably connected with a lot of people between social media, traditional media and personal friends. They aren’t all successful all of the time. Most successful people rise to the top after many years of hard work and sacrifice and most have a string of failures before they hit success. People rarely make social media posts or send press releases proclaiming all of their failures for the world to see. Everyone puts a spin on their social media posts and their publicity. It’s really unfair to yourself to compare yourself to ANYONE else. You’re really only comparing yourself to their public image. Follow most people around and their seemingly perfect lives look a lot less perfect, maybe a lot like yours.
7.) You Have No Competition
I remember talking with an actor before an audition for a theater company I was interested in working with many years ago. We were both auditioning for the same role and I gave him a cough drop when he was having a throat issue. He took the cough drop but suspiciously. He told me that he viewed me as his competition and didn’t understand why I would help him. As he waited for his call, he eyed the room suspiciously, while I was busy running lines and working the character. As he reemerged from his audition he looked a bit smug and was dismissive when I bid him farewell. My response, a warm closing salutation, and then I went back to my work. I got the part and it was a very successful and award winning run, the first of many with that small but prestigious company. I often tell students in the few acting lectures I can make time for each year that they should never look at another actor as competition. It will psyche you out. You will get the roles you’re supposed to get. Focus on doing your best and connecting well with the character. So it is with anything. If you spend too much time keeping up with the Joneses, your focus won’t be on meeting and exceeding your personal best. A little competition CAN be a good thing of course. You can learn by seeing what’s successful for others. Watching others succeed can sometimes motivate you to reach farther then you would otherwise too, but at the end of the day your focus should be on your own quest for personal excellence, not limited by the accomplishments of others as your benchmark. Perhaps you can reach far further than anyone else ever has. Why stop by just beating someone else at their own game.
If you’re doing something extraordinary, it’s going to be difficult. That’s the nature of extraordinary. If it were easy, it would just be called ordinary.
So the next time you start to mope about the unfairness of it all, take heart, refocus and go do something awesome, however long it takes. The alternative is to not give your special gifts to the world and that would be truly sad. If we all gave our best and followed our bliss we would all benefit from each other’s genius.
So what crazy, difficult and awesome things are you working on? Please comment below and let’s give each other some encouragement here folks, right here on this page!
Go get em!