During the early 1900s, “Keeping up with the Joneses,” became a popular phrase. It means to fit in a place or situation. The most common example would be how our parents compare us to our peers. “Sharmaji ko dekho!” is probably the Indian version of the phrase. Despite not envying each other consciously, unconsciously you tend to measure yourself against another.
Everybody these days is running a rat race to be better than another. Just fitting in, in the society is no more enough. Being content with what is available is a sign of moving towards failure. Those who are content can even be considered to be losing the fighting spirit.
You build a pressure for yourself by thinking ‘I am special, I am unique, and I want to do something extraordinary!’
There is a psychological tyranny in the culture that you must always be exceptional and unique. On the other hand, if everybody is extraordinary then by definition nobody would be extraordinary. Being average is now looked down at. It has become a resemblance of failure. Mediocrity is feared because it doesn’t lead to improvement.
Comparing yourself to others will always make you feel like a failure. If you wish to be accepted by others even without accepting yourself then you will always feel inferior.
Eric Hoffer says,
“The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.”
There is no scorecard to determine if you are special or average. You can think independently and help yourself get better. There is nothing which can result in failure if you want to do a certain thing. Whether you succeed or not the result will always be a win-win. But if you compare the same thing with another you will be left with a feeling of not doing enough. Somebody else’s goal will make your goal look smaller.
The true joys of yourself can be felt if you recognize and accept that you are not special and you need not be special. Once you do this you will learn to measure yourself through better parameters. You would be a better person altogether. Pressurising yourself to be better than somebody else would help you in no way.
The irony of ambition is that if you want to be smarter and better than everybody else you will always feel average about yourself.
While everybody is running on the same track at a similar speed how would you gain anything different? You have to believe that even if you appear to be average in a crowd you are exceptional for yourself. You need to bring improvements not by comparing yourself to others but by becoming better than how you were earlier.