I occasionally watch People Be Like on YouTube. Two days ago I saw PBL’s video on how to stop caring what people think of you. It advocates uniqueness as the thing that makes you able to do exciting things, meaningful things and generally great things. That slight difference between you and your peers as a child goes a long way in changing your life’s trajectory (for the better, I hope). You come to accept different things. You see people and opportunities differently. They make you stand out from the crowd.
But, life is not just a competition, although that is what capitalism wants you to think. Instead life should be a movement towards improvement, for yourself and everyone around you. Life is a composition of your feelings, your ambitions, your ideas, your friendships, your experiences and your accomplishments. I think seeing life primarily as a competition is detrimental to your wellbeing. If you are “losing” it is making you unhappy. If you are “winning” it can get to your head until you feel extremely entitled and eventually patronising. These are extremes I place in the realm of being constantly and unnecessarily competitive.
Here are two important things I have heard this year: someone else’s success is not your failure and that even if we had wings to fly, we would not use them. We have legs to take us places, and we are still too lazy. Of course, if you are in direct competition with someone for the same job, then success and failure are inevitably the two outcomes. If you do not get that job, know that outcome means you are open to so many opportunities for far better-suited jobs that may lead to an entirely different future.
In other cases, like if someone you know has managed to publish a novel and you have not even finished writing one, that success is truly not your failure. They have made their mark now, but you will make it in the future. There is still time. It takes too much mental energy to feel sorry for yourself. Your energy is better used moving towards your ambitions, rather than feeling you have failed. Feel instead you have moved forward on a snakes and ladders board. With enough rolling of the dice, eventually, you will always reach the top.