What Does it Mean to Get Ahead?
“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves” – William Penn
Life is about quality experiences and honorable achievements you work towards.
Life is not about getting ahead of everyone else. Life is not about accumulating every attention-getting trinket in existence. Life is not about comparing yourself to others as if they are the official measuring stick of accomplishment. Granted, I’m being completely subjective here. I know to others life might very well be solely about acquisition of power, wealth, fame, stuff; who knows. I’m sure having ultimate power might be cool, for a while; being able to buy whatever my heart desires would fulfill my wants, for a while; having people adore me and fawn all over me might be gratifying and feed my ego, for a while.
But I’ve observed that a lot of times people compare their status with others (usually ones ahead of them) and feel as if they are not as successful or accomplished as they should be; then they lose sight of what they have in favor of what they might be able to attain. So they persist in their drive to acquire more and more, never really appreciating what they have now. This ladies and gentlemen is what is called the rat race.
My suggestion is to never start running that race, because once you do, you immediately lose. Striving to be successful is an admirable goal; one I agree with and continually work for. However, I’ve learned to follow an ideal of what my future successful self looks like, but only compare myself to where I have been and what I have achieved in the past. You see an ideal is just that; an ideal, it is not real and most of the time it’s not attainable in a realistic sense. Think of how you structure your future self’s image. Is it perfect? Maybe not but it’s probably idealistically constructed, meaning ‘if things were perfect’ played a small part in its creation, even if you weren’t consciously aware of it. So striving toward that ideal gives you focus and a goal, which is good. Comparing yourself to the past and what actually was keeps you grounded, examining real world facts.
It is unfortunately very easy to fall into the trap of thinking things like “Everyone has so much more than me,” “I’m never going to have as much as that guy,” or “I’m never going to make it.” That’s jealously talking there. In the grand spectrum of success, there will always be those ahead, and behind you. This is a fact. Worrying so much about what other people have accomplished and comparing yourself only to those that are more successful will ultimately lead to you feeling like a failure. Now it’s okay to model your actions after successful people (they’re a success for a reason); any other comparisons on success is just shortchanging yourself.
I once fell into that trap. I’d look at all the successful authors out there and lament that they succeeded where I still failed. I saw their body of published works and compared that to my unpublished writing. And I was miserable. What I failed to look at was just how much more I wrote in the last two years compared to the eight years preceding them. In the last two years I’ve written a weekly blog entry almost every week, I’ve written a Novel, and two short stories. The previous eight years I wrote only a fraction of that. So in comparison to myself the last two years have been a resounding success. And I gained fulfillment from those valuable and rewarding writing experiences. Sure I’m not published yet, but I’m light years ahead of where I was. The key there is me, not those published authors. My being jealous of them served no purpose except to make me feel like crap. So I changed my perspective. And guess what? I changed my life, yet again.
You can do it too. I dare you.
Thanks for reading. Questions and Comments are welcome.