Human brains are wired a little weird. We want things that we do not have and we do not appreciate what we actually have. We are always looking at others to assess our own worth. And that tendency of ours has amplified over time with the astronomical growth of social media and its influence on general lifestyle. We see people live their curated realities on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and everywhere else and take it to be the ultimate truth. Even though we know that these people do not actually live a picture-perfect life and the visual aesthetics are most often only limited to the screen, we still cannot help considering them as the standard scale to measure our own selves with.
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Even though our brain keeps telling us that aspiring for someone else’s vision of “perfection” will help us grow better, in reality, the truth could not be any far removed. True improvement comes only when we aspire to be better than our own, current selves. See, the thing is, every one of us is made a little differently. So, what works for someone, will not work exactly the same way for someone else. And in that case, trying to live up to someone else’s standards sound pretty futile right? Remember in Wake Up Sid how Sid failed his final exams and yet ended up being a pretty successful photographer? Do you think that would have been possible if he had sat there trying to catch up with the rest of his group who passed the test rather than challenging himself and his whole being?
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Another real life and perhaps the biggest example of this is no one but the reigning king of the Bollywood music industry Arijit Singh. The man worked on himself and his craft endlessly for a decade before he made it big and look where he is now. Had he tried to be like the winners of the very reality TV singing competition that he finished at the 7th place, he probably would not have focused on himself enough to polish his voice to the godly level that it is at now.
The thing about deeming yourself as your only competition is that it provides a two-way benefit- first, you focus on yourself and work out ways to better your shortcomings, in ways that you know might work for you. It is a trial and error process but it is also a collaborative process with one’s own self. Thus, you do not end up beating yourself up about not being able to do things in certain ways which others seem to be doing it.
The other side of the coin is when you consider yourself as your competition, you acknowledge both your flaws and your strengths, which in turn gives you enough confidence to know you have the potential to be better but also prevents you from being so full of yourself that you stop trying to build yourself up further.
Introspection is this gift that so many of us end up wasting. Your social media timelines just “feed” you with made up reality but in the real world, the power is in your hands to create a world that does not feed on your insecurities but challenges you to be better every day. Better than no one else, but you, Yourself!