The expectation to have achieved greatness by 30 is somewhat overwhelming. Social media gives us unrealistic standards of what life should be and more often than not, it’s easy to feel like you’re falling by the wayside. The fact that you didn’t wake up this morning, do a 10k run and down four shots of freshly-pressed ginger is seemingly, the least of your worries, when apparently you should be doing far more – all before 7.30am.

We are living in a fire breathing digital dragon, where success or anything that looks like success is being churned out 24/7 and its contaminating the very oxygen that we breathe. Moments of happiness are blighted by someone needing to document it ‘for the gram’, because nothing screams validation in the same way that accumulating 100 likes on a photo by friends (and strangers!) does.  But when did we allow the lives we see through our phone screens to dictate the way we feel about our own lives?

We need to stop comparing ourselves to other people, because ultimately we were all put on this earth to do different things and be different people. By wishing you had a different lifestyle instead of actively doing something to change whatever it is that is  making you unhappy, is counterproductive and will start to plague your mental well-being. There will be people who become successful much earlier in life and there will be others who will come to success much later, however the catch is, we all measure ‘what success is’ differently. There is no correct formula and no right or wrong answer, because success is subject to change – for everyone.

Unless you are exceptionally lucky, things don’t come to most people served hot. Let’s take the three talking points of this title:

  1. Write A Best-Seller

  2. Sell A Business

  3. Run a Marathon

On the surface, having achieved one of these three things is impressive, but let’s look at what it took to get there in the first place.

 

  • Write A Best-Seller

    • Before the best seller was a bestseller it was a manuscript. A manuscrIpt that took a lot of planning, structuring and time! A manuscript that has been edited, had pages deleted, chapters wiped and had days of just sitting untouched on a laptop, as the writer questions their own writing abilities or goes through a period of writer’s block that can last for months! The lifestyle of an author, (especially one that hasn’t been published yet) can be uncertain and your finished book can go unpublished for years as you do side jobs to make ends meet. Your book can get over 100 rejections before it gets one maybe and then it might get rejected anyway…
  • Selling A Business

    • You don’t have to look far on Google, to see what the perils of entrepreneurship are. Leading the hardships of entrepreneurship is loneliness, followed by unconventional working hours, no work-life balance, periods of being completely broke, partnerships that end badly and feelings of self-doubt. Friends and family start to feel isolated, relationships can break down and an entrepreneur’s sense of worth can go out the window on a daily basis. Self-belief is a hard uphill battle and even when someone sells their business (aka their baby), they might believe it was done prematurely and regret it…
  • Running A Marathon

    • Preparing for a marathon takes months of training and discipline, both physically and mentally. Your body has to be ready to conquer 26 miles (!), which is no easy feat to do, with the average person taking well over four hours to complete one. Running a marathon is a commitment that you can’t put on hold for a month, just because you think ‘it’s cold outside’. You have to follow a strict diet, cut out alcohol and exercise religiously, allowing time for recovery. Some people get injured or burnt out before the race has even started and some people don’t make it over the finish line, because they hit a mental wall at mile 23…

Social media churns out success stories every day, but you don’t often see the journey of what it took  for that person to get there, in a photo, a review or a figure. Other people achieving things can sometimes cause us anxiety because it is a reminder of all the things that we feel we haven’t done, but remember,  we don’t have to do everything- it’s just social media asking us why we haven’t and social media isn’t a person. If it was a person, would we like to hang out with them every day? If we came home feeling more deflated than uplifted after a mere half hour of surfing on the tube with them, would it perhaps make us question our compatibility to be around them so often?

Thankfully social media isn’t a person and we have total control of how much time we spend using its services. My suggestions to you therefore is to filter out the things that don’t make you feel good and replace them with real life actions, whether that be more exercise, going to a comedy club or applying yourself to a course. No I haven’t written a book, sold a business or been close to running a marathon and that’s OK. If you have, kudos to you because the work that goes into those things is tremendously hard. Instead of getting bogged down in what other people are doing, your priority should be on yourself and making yourself feel better; however if another person’s success can spur you on to do something- then even better. Remember no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors and no one is perfect.

If life was perfect we’d lose the ability to be empathetic and empathy might just be one of the most human qualities we could possibly want.

 

C.Moncrieff