Friday, June 10, 2016

Using other people’s success as a whip to your back

Raghunathan’s psychology research found that the pursuit of superiority actually lowers happiness levels. 

Because when we’re focused on being the best, we always want to know how much better and richer and faster and prettier more talented we are than others. And that addiction fosters the tendency to engage in social comparisons, which ultimately makes us feel miserable. Bad times. 

For example, when we watch one of our peers do something extraordinary on stage, and we instantly think to ourselves, wow, I quit, we’re only hurting ourselves. Because the reality is, we have no idea what other people are going through behind the scenes. We can’t compare their five minute highlight reel with our feature length documentary. That’s not being fair to ourselves. 

And so, instead of trying to compete with every good work of art we see, we have to learn to accept ourselves for what we are and, more importantly, where we are. In our careers, in our work and in our trajectory as artists. 

Because contrary to popular conditioning, hating ourselves does not make us interesting. There’s no upside to using other people’s success as a whip to our backs. Besides, if we were truly committed to doing the work, we wouldn’t even have time to beat ourselves up. 

That’s what boggles my mind. If people invested as much energy in their art as they did on their public outrage and petty jealously and macho competitiveness, they’d have piles of great work pouring out of them on a daily basis.

Whom are you wasting time hating?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
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