Why is it that we seem to have a need to compare ourselves with other people? Isn’t it odd that we generally decide how we’re doing based on where others are at?
I’ve decided to get off my career path and start again on another one. The trouble is, every now and again I speak to a friend from high school or someone I went to college with and I panic. The worst is going onto facebook! I’m often left feeling like there’s a race on and I’m coming last.
I’m not sure where this desire to keep up with the Jones’ starts. Does it come from watching our parents and mimicking their behaviour, or is it instinctive? All I know is that from an early age, I decided I was a fast runner based on the number of people I beat in a race. And that in itself may not be a bad thing. What’s worrying though is that again at an early age, I started letting the herd decide which attributes were important. So in high school the fact that I was gifted academically didn’t matter because I was terrible at most sports and sports were what mattered. At university it was popularity and again, my kung fu was weak! Now, as an adult in his late twenties, the social currency of choice is career and money.
But hang on. Why do I care? Why do I feel pressured to conform to society’s standards? Am I just a weak willed person or is it the same for everyone else? What is success? Living up to my peers’ expectations, or having the courage to pursue my own dreams, regardless of the social consequences? It sounds so obvious but when it comes down to it, how many of us have the courage to be different and to stand out? Who among us doesn’t want the admiration of their friends and family?
At the end of the day it all comes down to courage. Courage to leave the safe, secure rut you are in and try something different. Courage to risk failure. And the biggest one for me is the need for the courage to step out from under the umbrella of my loved ones’ approval.