This is a guest post from Holly Riordan.
Focus on your own path because you’re going to get sidetracked if you pay too much attention to the people surrounding you. You have to pour all of your energy into your own hopes and dreams, your own goals and milestones. If you’re dwelling on how successful a friend’s work came out and how you could never be that good, then you’re taking time away from your own work. You’re giving yourself a reason to procrastinate, a reason to look down on yourself, a reason to give up.
Focus on your own path because bitterness is only going to bring you down. If seeing accomplishments from other people your age only makes you upset, then why are you even bothering to keep track of their successes? To torture yourself? Or are you waiting for them to fail so you can feel better about your own life? Neither of those reasons are productive nor healthy, so stop spending so much time comparing and contrasting your journeys. Your competitor’s success is not your failure. In fact, they’re not even your competitor, so you should stop thinking of them that way. Stop assuming there’s only room for one person’s happiness.
Focus on your own path because you’re never going to know everything another person has gone through in order to reach their goals. You’re only going to get part of the story. You’re going to see their end results — but you’re not going to see all of the work it took them to reach those results. You’re not going to see the tears they cried behind closed doors. You’re not going to see the times when they got into arguments with friends and family because they were so frustrated with themselves. You’re never going to see all of the coffees they’ve drank and all of the failed work they’ve thrown out before the rest of the world could see. You’re never going to know exactly how much effort it took them to reach their dreams.
Focus on your own path because comparing yourself to the people around you is only going to discourage you. It’s only going to boost your insecurities. It’s only going to make you question your worth, your abilities, and your chances of reaching success.
Neil Gaiman, one of the most beautiful authors of our generation, has a quote about writing with your own voice instead of trying to copy the greats like Tolkien. He said: “There will always be people who are better or smarter than you. There are people who are better writers than me, who plot better than I do, but there is no one who can tell a Neil Gaiman story like I can.”
You can apply this advice to every single portion of your life. There’s no point in trying to look like someone else or act like someone else because you’re not that person. You’ll never be that person. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s encouragement to be yourself because you’re the only you that exists. And you’re more beautiful than you realize.
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