Do you ever wish you made more money or had more power, fame, free time, or something else others have and you don’t?
Maybe you look at Brad Pitt or Oprah Winfrey and think, I wish I had what they do. Then you get stuck realizing you don’t and feeling sorry. I’ve found the problem isn’t their having something and you not having it. The problem is you wishing you had it and not realizing their situation fully.
More precisely: your thoughts are making you feel bad, not the external world.
Getting tangled in thoughts of comparing yourself to them by standards that don’t work for you bring you down.
What to do instead?
Here’s a thought process I found myself in yesterday that I realized made me feel a lot better than how I used to think. It doesn’t lead me to complacently feel content with what I have. It points me in a rewarding direction.
I was thinking about acting, which I’ve read and posting about in relation to leadership, but that’s another story. After watching a few great actors talking about their profession I thought I bet no actor wishes they were a banker, even the struggling ones. You only go into acting because you love it, since you know you don’t have much chance at breakout success. You forgo dependable money for personal development, expression, and a community with those values. And the rush of a great performance.
From an actor’s perspective, banking must look terrible. Yeah, you get money, but at the cost of knowing and being yourself. Who would want to give up the personal growth, development, and the rush of a great performance? Money isn’t worth it.
But then I bet bankers look at actors like losers who don’t get the best in life — eating at the best restaurants, traveling, staying at the best hotels, driving the best cars, etc. Few bankers probably wish they were actors.
Still, each must occasionally wish they could experience the other’s lifestyle, at least temporarily.
Maybe it would be great to get the best of both — to be a movie star who gets to act and have loads of money.
But then you realize movie stars have their challenges too. They lose their privacy. They still have to work hard. Everyone in the world feels entitled to criticize them.
Do you see the pattern? Compare any professions, apples to apples, and you have to look at them from the perspective of someone in them. To someone who loves the field, they’re dream jobs. To someone outside the field, they’re full of faults.
Follow this path and eventually you realize all fields have their pros and cons.
But you know you wouldn’t like all jobs the same. So how do you avoid concluding all jobs have pros and cons so they’re all equivalent? Your only path out of pros and cons is to figure out what you love and enjoy and do what you love and enjoy — whatever emotions you want most out of life.
You don’t evaluate jobs by abstract standards or other people’s standards. You evaluate them by your standards, which only you know and are based in your emotions — what you like and what you don’t.
Doing so is not that hard. I like this line of thinking because it points me in a direction of understanding myself better, which points me toward filling my life with what brings me reward and emotions I like.
You just have to be aware of yourself and what creates the emotions you want. This blog keeps coming back to it and I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the Model and Method reach this conclusion and show what to do about it.
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