Hey guys! How you doing? What’s new?
So I wanted to talk about dealing with the fear of being left behind when it seems that all your peers are doing really well, except you.
I was inspired by this tweet:
I think we can all relate. Your bestfriend just got her dream job. You great guy friend just got engaged or even your sibling has finally lost all that weight. Everyone is doing really well, excelling even.
And you’re just there like:
I mean, you’re not totally jobless. In fact you may have a job and do a bit extra here, but ultimately you aren’t where you want to be. Especially not anywhere near where your peers are. You don’t feel fulfilled and very left behind. It seems everyone is winning the race of life, and you, on the other hand, are stagnant.
You find yourself asking:
“Why not me?”
“When is it going to be my turn?”
So, many of us think like this, so much so that a study found people’s perception of the world and themselves depends on the status of their friends, colleagues and peers (duh!) They also found that we will naturally be biased towards thinking ourselves “worse” when we compare ourselves to our so-called “better [off]” friends.
And it’s a hard one. You don’t want to seem ungrateful for what you have, but don’t think you’ve achieved much.
So, how do you get over this?
Well, my friend, you should know by now I never come with the easy answers, only the truth.
You simply have to keep going.
Wait, wait, hear me out.
This isn’t easy, in fact it sounds like an impersonal and unpractical answer. How does one work on their feelings of inadequacy? How do I stop feeling left behind?
Start with putting success into perspective.
For example, the person who has made it in life and has a perfect setup, probably had to struggle for many years. But you were too busy indulging in self-pity, you only noticed the final success and not the struggle.
That person who just got engaged and is about to have a fairytale wedding, may have had a really violent and turbulent relationship in the past. They have finally met someone who loves them and can celebrate that. But, you were too busy being jealous to realise there was a painful backstory.
The point is, success is so different for each and every one of us. And because of this you simply can’t compare your timing to theirs. They’re moving on a different journey which will take them down various paths, some more successful than others. And that’s also the beauty of life.
However, when you do allow yourself to feel inadequate and left behind you fuel a cycle of negative thinking.
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m never going to make it.”
“I can’t do what they do!”
This is not only detrimental to your health, but also jeopardizes your chances of success. You lack confidence, drive and the ability to keep going. In fact doing this, is a fast track to unhappiness. This is because you’re focusing on others but giving away precious time to invest in yourself.
That thing you could do with your eyes closed, you better go and turn it into a money maker! Or even a professional course, volunteering, anything that will edge you closer to success and curb negative thinking. By focusing on your goals, what you’re doing (or not) you’ll begin to find ways you can move forward.
As a young person who struggles with this, I know what I’m saying is not easy. But it’s possible to use such situations to your advantage and learn about what it takes to be successful and do well. Turn your focus inwards and work on you.
And if you’re doing all of that already, then moving forward and being successful will surely happen.