Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Never has a phrase felt so true than when my one of my perceived ‘successful creatives’ out there in the Internet world tweeted that they felt unsuccessful. I’m often amazed (but need to stop being) that those we admire have their own anxiety about success and value. The fear that we are not fulfilling some destiny or that our achievements are actually failures is an experience that I believe will never fade. Wherever we are we will still find others to look at and others to compare ourselves too.
The truth is who we are and what we do are vastly different to everyone else. Even if we’re doing the same job or live in the same circumstances as someone else, there are still so many points of difference in our lives, aims, aspirations and experiences. Therefore how we see and seek success should be our own brand also! Perhaps there is some freedom in embracing these points of difference to find our own unique place and purpose.
Following a discussion on success on The Pursuit Project, I found myself continuing to ponder the measure of my own success. How we can reduce the amount we feel unsuccessful, feel failure or diminish our own achievements? How can we suddenly stop playing the comparison game? How can we balance self-sufficiency and seeking learning and growth? Is the only way to stop comparing to stop looking? Since I’m not particularly excited about exiting social media, books and the like, I sought another path. I believe the solution to reducing if not banishing feeling unsuccessful or ‘not good enough’ is to choose enough.
What happens when we choose enough?
We have more
By choosing enough we are never wanting. What we have is good and plenty and where we are is right. This might sound like not pursuing goals or hustling out projects, but don’t hear me saying that. Hustle, strive and seek all your goals — but simply choose to respect yourself during the journey. This means that when you need rest you take it, when you hit a block you accept it without deprecation and when we are ready for the next step we take it with joy; not out of the ‘shoulds’ we’re believing.
We accept our own limitations
Not only accept them but embrace what that means without crushing self-defeat. So you want to sell your awesome creations but can’t make a website? You are enough, hire someone else to do what you cannot. Needing to learn a new skill or outsource a task or job is not a failure, even if someone else in a similar situation to you did it all themselves. Without needing to pick apart how they did it and before you dissolve into your own feelings of inadequacies — choose enough! With enough, our limitations become opportunities for partnerships, learning, growth, redirection and more.
We celebrate our achievements
When we choose enough we set our own achievements and we define our own points of success! By choosing enough for ourselves we can acknowledge without guilt when getting to the end of the week without crying was a vast achievement, or be proud that we went to the gym 3 days a week rather than feeling ashamed we didn’t do more.
We define our own failures
What’s failure? Technically, a lack of success. When we choose enough and define what success is, we also begin defining our own failures. Choosing enough means the freedom to not be ‘a failure’ and to always be on a journey of growth. When we adjust definitions we’ve always accepted and craft our own understandings of words and concepts, we have no limits!
Choose enough — you deserve to.
Listen to our episode on definitions of success here.