Life is Not a Race

Author: Yi-Nuo

Sometimes, it seems like life is a race, and you will never be in the lead. You take a look at the people around you, and see them doing amazing things with their lives.  Meanwhile, you feel like you’re getting nowhere.  It seems as though all of your achievements amount to nothing, that your abilities and traits that make you special and important, pale in comparison to those of others.

There’s always someone smarter, better-looking, more loved, and more accomplished.  You will never win, so why even bother?  Why try if all you’re ever going to do is lose?

One of the hardest things for us to do is to stop comparing ourselves to others. This particular practice is how we assess how well our lives are going. By using the people around us as rulers, we are able to see how we ‘measure up’.  However, more often than not, instead of being a useful indicator of our quality of life, comparison to other people leads us becoming painfully aware of our own shortcomings. This leads to feelings of inferiority and the hopeless thought that we will never be ‘good enough’.

Personally, I often wonder if I should stop writing. When I get sick of hearing my own voice, I wonder if others feel the same way. If nobody actually appreciates or has ever appreciated anything I’ve written. If I’m never going to get better. If I should just quit because it’s not going to go anywhere.  I look to well-established writers with a mixture of envy and insecurity along with admiration because frankly, their success makes my own accomplishments look meager in comparison.

But I’m still here writing, despite the doubts. Of course, they’re still there (and likely will be forever) but I don’t want to give up on something that I care about because of those doubts.  A trick that I have found that helps stop me from comparing myself to others is to exude confidence, real confidence or fake-it-’til-you-make-it confidence, either serves the purpose.  I tell myself that I am doing plenty fine just the way I am, and that I don’t need someone else to become my ‘ruler’ of success.

Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter fifty.”

There’s a famous quote that goes something like ‘don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter fifty’, and it has been a very helpful reminder for me to step back and stop using other people as standards of what I should be like.  None of us are in this to ‘win’.

Life’s not a race.  It’s an amalgamation of billions of individual journeys and your path will not be the same as anyone else’s.

In fact, each individual life is so different that comparing ourselves to each other is not only unfair, but inaccurate. There is a huge number of factors that determine how someone’s life turns out, and many of these factors will always be wholly out of our control.

What we can control, is how we view ourselves.  If you don’t feel like you’re good enough, it doesn’t mean you really aren’t good enough. The key word here is feeling.  Your perception of yourself as ‘not good enough’ comes only from inside of your own head. If you can change the way you think about yourself, if you can learn to stop comparing your flaws to other people’s strengths, if you stop trying to hold yourself to unrealistic and unhealthy standards, then you can finally start feeling ‘good enough’.