I, like every sane person, want to be successful. I want to have money, a house, and a nice car. But don’t get me wrong. My main goal in life is not to be filthy rich, but I don’t exactly want to be limited to ordering a cheeseburger from the dollar menu at McDonalds. I want to afford the Number 4, large, and maybe a McFlurry for dessert…Don’t judge me. Being a stage actor with no college degree and a photographer whose business has yet to reach its first anniversary, I have had my fair share of dollar menu meals and shopping sprees at the local Salvation Army. Oh boy.
In recent years, I’ve often been thrown off by the successes and accomplishments of other people. Maybe thrown off isn’t the best word… Distracted perhaps? Eh…Jealous. Yes that’s it. I was Jealous! [Insert dramatic music…Dom Dom Dom]. I would ask myself questions like “How did they get that?” and of course then, “WHY DONT I HAVE THAT?!?” I spent so much time wanting what other people had and imagining myself in their lives. Sure I had my goals and my dreams of my own, but other people were achieving them before I could. Thus I began the evil, horrible, stupid game of–here it comes–comparison. It is pretty much the WORST thing you could do to yourself. You might as well set your soul on fire. I was trying so hard to be be like other people that I found myself making changes in my life based on what the “successful” were doing.
Then it hit me….I was spending so much time and energy trying to be like “them” and watching them succeed that it was distracting me from creating my own success and foraging my own path. My best friend’s dad trains race horses. He was explaining to me that the reason they put the blinders on the horses is to keep them from being distracted by their surroundings. It helps them–for a lack of better words–”run like the wind Bullseye” and gallop across that finish line. DUH! It’s like a lightbulb the size of Rhode Island went off in my head.
I realized that one of the beautiful things about humans is that we are all different and so are our stories. I may have the same dream that thousands of other people have, but that does not mean that I am not going to achieve it. It merely means that my path, my journey, my process is completely, 100% unique to me and where I am in my own life. And comparing myself to other people is NOT the way to achieve my goals nor is it healthy or constructive to my psyche.
Since I made this shift in how I think about success and how to achieve my goals, this past month has been the one of best months of my life. Everything just feels right. The stress of success is no longer a burden because I realized I am already successful in my own right, and really it is only going to get better from here. My advice to you, focus on the prize and charge after for it! See you at the finish line.
Here is a little poem by Kurt Vonnegut I thought I would share. Special thanks to Mrs. Jessica Nash for sharing it with me!