“She’s got sleeker car, a swankier home, and bulkier pockets,” you bemoan. “What about me? Where’s my Maserati, beachfront manor, and luxuriant bank account?”
This used to be me. The words “unlucky” and “cursed” were tattooed across my mind because ill-fate must be the reason, I thought, that fortunes eluded me while it seemed to adorn everyone else.
But then one life-changing day, a wise man told me, “Stop comparing your chapter two with someone else’s chapter eight.”
It was a profound quote that helped me to stop comparing myself to others.
The wise man said, “Everyone’s life is like a uniquely written novel that remains unfinished until we perish.” A book, he added, is much like human life and it has many elements of development that mimic the growth of an apple tree:
· The seed – the beginning of your story
· The budding plant – you as the protagonist
· Thunderstorms and tsunamis – conflicts that affect you
· The majestic apple tree – you, as the protagonist, mature and bear fruit
Using the concept of novel writing and sprouting trees as analogies, I was able to rid myself of unhealthy comparisons and focus on own journey to success by understanding the following:
A Seed Can’t Choose Its Surroundings
A seed doesn’t have the luxury of choosing its surroundings. In the same way, we had no control over how we were raised. Many of us have had humble beginnings or unloving upbringings, which can put us at a disadvantage, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sprout into a towering tree.
It’s futile to question why “they” grew up with a silver spoon in their mouths or why “they” had a better upbringing than you did.
What would be the point? Complaining won’t change your circumstances.
You can’t do anything about where your seed has been planted, but what you can do is ensure that novel – your story – doesn’t end the same way it started.
Don’t Dodge Danger
A budding plant is new, naïve and inexperienced – much like a waddling toddler, a fledgling 21-year-old careerist, or a 41-year-old switching into a new field.
Achievement is rarely accomplished during this stage – we are too “green around the ears.” But it is up to you to throw yourself into challenging situations, which will bring you the gifts of experience, mastery, and growth.
When you ask, “What are they doing that I’m not doing?” The answer is that they’ve fearlessly jumped into uncomfortable situations – they’ve shamelessly pleaded their case on why they deserve a promotion and a raise, they’ve brazenly schmoozed with high-powered individuals, and they’ve jumped in “head first” into their dreams despite naysayers saying, “You can’t do it!”
Yes, there is a risk of rejection, heartbreak, and failure, but don’t view these as setbacks. Instead, perceive them as indicators that you’re inching closer to success – they signify your diligent efforts to climb to the top.
If you, as the protagonist in your story, did nothing but sob in a corner and coveted others’ successes, the novel would never progress.
Inclement Weather is Inevitable
We all have thunderstorms and tsunamis we must weather – even the people you think lead “perfect” lives. While you may envy their wealthy wardrobe and affluent apartment, they may yearn for your forgiving family or your supportive spouse.
Every good novel has conflict, and in the same way, every human being on earth faces hardship, too.
Isn’t it silly to compare your life, which is filled of ups and downs, to someone else’s life, which is also brimming with struggles and suffering?
We all face inclement weather at many junctures in our lives. The question is, how do you deal with it so that you emerge from your story as “the hero” rather than “the hobo”?
We Are the Writers of Our Lives
The pen is in your hands.
You can either sob about your life as a seedling and how you’re stagnating as a budding plant, or you can create fruitful conflict – one that involves throwing yourself into uncomfortable situations that lead to success – and then you, too, can grow into a majestic tree filled with all the fruit you can eat!
As the wise man said, do not compare your chapter two to someone else’s chapter eight. Focus on your own journey to success!