“And I think if you’re young and you’re in that business of dreams, you’re always looking at the guy who’s got just a little bit more than you, and you’re measuring yourself in relation to that. And you always come up the loser.” -Warren Zanes
Warren Zanes played in a band in the 80’s called the Del Fuegos. They were a rock band. They wrote some pretty good songs, and I loved them. After his stint as a rock star Warren almost accidentally went on to get a Phd, serve as VP of the Rock N Roll Hall of fame, and most recently, write a no holds barred biography of Tom Petty. I am not a Tom Petty fan, but I heard a podcast with Zanes recently and the above quote hit struck me. (I read the Petty book anyway)
I’m no geologist, but I’m pretty sure it’s our human nature to be competitive. From a young age we gauge ourselves against others. Animals puff up their chests, kids bully, we want to win. It’s perpetuated I imagine by parents to some degree, but even in instances where parents don’t reinforce it, we can’t help but gauge ourselves against others.
It’s the little voice inside of us that won’t let us enjoy accomplishment. The same voice that tells us we aren’t good enough. The voice that that sets unrealistic goals. To be clear, we need the voice, because I think its the same voice that helps us push us outside of our comfort zone. We just need the voice to clear away the garbage.
There are 1440 minutes in a day. 360 of which we spend asleep. Spending the remaining 1080 can happen quickly. Shit, a trip to Walmart can adversely burn 85 of those minutes. Tack on trips to and from work, meals, running kids around and you’re lucky to dedicate 30-60 a day to yourself. To burn any of them in want of what the other guy has is a colossal waste of time and is likely holding you back from achieving what you really want to do.
Sure, it’s easy to say, “Don’t rate yourself against others.” But to do it takes deliberate practice to set inward bars. Creating a way to rate yourself from where you are in the present against where you want to be. Learning to take credit with ourselves for our accomplishment and not diminishing. Setting stretch goals and figuring out the next step to get there.
Not a week goes by that I don’t interact with someone who self defeats by gauging themselves against others. Hell, I will drive my kids down Highland road and look at what others have and wish I had a mansion. Again, I think it’s natural. BUT if we don’t recognize it, push it aside and keep going, we all come out losers in the end.
Take some credit today. Challenge yourself against the you of yesterday. It’s 7:01 a.m. 959 mins and counting.