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Publish365 009: Compare You To You

There was an interesting discussion on this week’s episode of the Making It Podcast with Jimmy Diresta, Bob Clagett, and David Picciuto. Part of the chat they had focused on setting aside your ego and just doing things, also in the context of comparing yourself only to yourself. I particularly enjoyed that advice because it is easy to forget at times and we’re all guilty of looking next door to see what our measuring stick should be.

David in particular had an interesting anecdote; he talked about a very successful friend he had and he said he often wondered what his successful friend would think if he saw what David did for a living. It’s an interesting thing to think about and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that same type of thing on occasion. I have some friends who are very rich, and I have some friends who are broker than broke, and when I see my more successful friends I often wonder what they think of me. As I work through the specifics of my upcoming life transition and hit partial panic as I realize that the life I’m accustomed to, at least for the time being, is basically over, I start wondering if my friends look at me differently. Like I’m incapable of adulting or I’m not the man they know. I wonder myself if it’s worth it to keep pushing on to grow ”my thing” when I need to ”eat” (in a figurative sense).

And then my brain kicks in and goes ”Who the hell cares?”

Because really, no one does.

You see that’s the great conceit of your own internal monologue: you think everyone hates you, judges you, mocks you, and thinks ill of you, and the fear of living down to that expectation tends to make you timid, scared, and shy. You don’t want to be that and you’ll do anything to not be that. Meanwhile that ”fight” to not live down to that picture is distracting you from moving yourself forward in potentially positive ways. I’ve found that, at least for myself, the best thing I can do to head these thoughts off is to be aware of them so they’re easier to isolate and react appropriately to.

Recently I saw a friend of mine doing what I do (making cutting boards, etc.) and I started thinking ”Look at their success level! Why can’t I get that done?” I have no idea why, to be honest, but here’s where I’m becoming more mature: As Jimmy said in the episode, the focus should be on ”Am I improving?” as opposed to ”Am I keeping pace with X or Y?” That’s a much healthier way to think and in this context, it completely changes the angle. Comparing what I do to him would depress the hell out of me. Comparing what I did this year to what I did last year? Cause for celebration.


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