Apparently, there are people out there who don’t ever compare themselves with others, they just spuddle along being all content with themselves . . . that’s great for them!
Sadly, many of us have a tendency to look at what others are doing and think “why am I not doing that or how come I can’t do that or they make that look so easy”. Il stop there as this could soon become a very extensive list
A quick search on the internet gives a whole host of useful information and solutions to counteract this. Things like being grateful for what you have, not comparing your everyday with the highlights someone else chooses to share. Of course, the big one being, avoiding social media (you are probably reading this on a social media platform, so just give it another 5 minutes yeah)
Advice like this is great, but when you are feeling like total shit and Janet and John Jones are splashing photos all over Facebook, living their best life . . . you cannot help but think . . . Bastards!
For many years I tried to be grateful, even when things were far from ideal. I’ve met people who have had their legs blown off in the military. Regardless of what I have got going on that day, its very unlikely I’m having a day as bad as the moment when they stood on a landmine and changed their life forever
Sometimes you can get some temporary relief from the realisation that your life could be a whole lot worse. The issue can often run a lot deeper though
The unfortunate truth is, if you are someone who lacks contentment then there is no quick fix. For me I used to be a drug addict and alcoholic, I was physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially exhausted
I would say “if only I was not dependant on *insert name of substance here*, then everything would be ok”
Admittedly, the first month or so after rehab was great, its known as “riding the pink fluffy cloud”. You start noticing the changing seasons, the birds chirping, nature producing its magnificent display. You are overflowing with gratitude . . . then normal life starts happening, you get drawn into materialism, the desire for success, more money, a better job, a better car, a bigger house. Before you know it you are questioning why your life is not like Janet & Johns? Lack of contentment has kicked in
When I started getting my shit together, I read ALOT of books. Many were books by VERY successful people. One of the common threads I saw was that those who are hyper successful, are very rarely content – if they were then why do they keep working, trying to push boundaries, earn more, achieve more?
Surely if they have enough then they could just retire and live out their life in a hammock? These people are not designed that way, they would probably go mental if they didn’t have anything to do
I used this to reframe discontentment, using it as a catalyst for success. I have met some people who are genuinely content. Some of the ones I know, live a very simple life, they have a 3-bed semi-detached house, a job they work at for 38 hours a week, they take two weeks holiday every summer at the same hotel in the lake district, which they travel to in their Volvo estate
Secretly I’m a little envious of them, it must be nice to have the peace of mind that comes with such contentment – As nice as it would be to have the quiet in my mind, I certainly don’t aspire to the Volvo estate
Therefore, by understanding your personality type and how you are wired up, means you can start understanding what it takes to help you live the life you want
Once you are working toward your purpose you can automatically discount a huge amount of the comparison with others, let me break it down;
For every outwardly successful thing, there is normally a lot of sacrifice that has gone on behind the scenes to make it achievable. Over time I have learnt to question my initial reaction, instead of dwelling in the feeling of “lesser than” I will ask myself why I’m not doing it
When I see someone celebrating their new job position, with lots of perks and a disgustingly HUGE salary
How I feel initially? – FFS why don’t I have a high-profile job with a nice company car and disgustingly HUGE salary?
The reality – they have sacrificed a massive amount of time and energy to a company that they will probably never own. They have consistently over delivered, staying extremely loyal with no sign of an instant reward
Am I willing to do this? – Hell No! After working for myself for 20 years I’m probably pretty much unemployable. My worst nightmare would be having to answer to a “Boss”
Therefore, this allows me to be genuinely happy for them, they have put the hard work and sacrifice in, that which I was not willing to
The happy family on holiday
How I feel initially? – Wow wish I had a cute little family to share life with
The reality – neither of them have probably slept for more than 2 consecutive hours in the past 5 years. They have probably both practised a huge amount of patience with each other and made an untold amount of sacrifice to be able to take that photo
Am I willing to do this? – Not right now, NOPE! I enjoy being able to live an adventurous life full of travel, spontaneity and having high risk adventures
Therefore, it fills me with a massive amount of respect for them and genuinely hope they are enjoying every moment
The totally ripped guy with great abs
How I feel initially? – I want to be completely ripped with great abs, life is not fair, he’s probably just got great genetics, poor me!
The reality – Possibly great genetics, but far more likely is that he has CONSISTENLY stayed focused on a training program, dedicating a huge amount of time and energy to it. Sacrificing A LOT of other things, so that he can look like he belongs on the cover of play girl magazine. His diet is probably extremely well curated, it’s unlikely that he challenges himself regularly to see if he can “win” against the Chinese all you can eat buffet
Am I willing to do this? – NO CHANCE! I like ice cream and cookies and big fat greasy burgers
Therefore, I reframe and think, good on you, that level of dedication is admirable, you have worked for it, so you deserve it
I have found that by acknowledging what I feel and looking deeper into what got someone to that place helps put it into context
What you see is not always a reality, for every positive there is normally a lot of hard work, compromise and sacrifice hiding below the surface
There is someone who I have known since the age of about 16, he’s a bit older than me. Always been more successful than me, has the great businesses, the perfect family with 2.4 children etc. I see what he’s doing and think “I wish I was *insert subject here*”
Then I remind myself that I know what a lot of others don’t, that he has ongoing issues with alcohol and drugs – would I want to be there? Absolutely not! But yet, my initial response is generally that of envy. Making a conscious effort to put things into perspective removes the negative feelings
Hope that’s helpful to you, let me know your thoughts in the comments? It’s always good to hear a different perspective?
Thanks for reading