The top people in my profession do really, really well. They get 10s of millions of views of their TED talks, and command six figure cheques for speaking engagements. They’re lauded and feted and share stages with ex-presidents and titans of business, and their books top the NYT best seller list.
When I rate myself next to them, I can only be unhappy, because compared to them, I’m a failure. Comparison can only a cause for extreme discontent in my soul.
I think that comparison is a major cause of the unhappiness in your life.
For one thing, when I compare, I’m not inclined to compare apples to apples. I just look at the good parts of other people. One top speaker/consultant, while a massive success and a trojan of an earner, told me he spends 220 days/year on the road. He doesn’t have the time to build meaningful relationships with any of his clients, let alone his family; he just rolls in and speaks and leaves again. I don’t know what his personal life looks like, but I’m not sure how you even build a personal life on 145 days/year.
On the other hand, I have a happy marriage and family. I have clients that I really enjoy being with. I’m involved with my community. And I pay the bills too.
The truth is that everyone is fighting a battle somewhere. Everyone is struggling with mental health or money or marriage issues or parenting problems or physical health or toxic work relationships or… the list goes on. The people that you envy are just like you in lots of ways.
Here’s what work is really about:
- Doing your best to make a difference wherever you are
- Building strong relationships with everyone you interact with
- Honing your skills so that you become the very best you can be with the talents you’ve been given
So rather than comparing this week, why not start with gratitude for what you’ve got. Make a list. You’re supposed to be you, not someone else.