I’m happy because when I look in the mirror, I don’t compare myself to anyone. Not anymore. I don’t compare the way I look, the way I feel, the work that I do. I don’t compare my level of happiness. I don’t compare my achievements.
Because I spent years doing that.
Years, comparing myself to everyone else.
The folks with better clothes, cars, lives, jobs, homes, bodies, hair, shoes. Years, comparing myself unfavorably and hating myself because of it.
It was brutally bad for me.
Nothing makes you feel more miserable than measuring yourself up to someone else and finding yourself lacking.
I compare myself to my values. My ideals. My dreams. My goals. My ideas of who and what I want to be. I compare myself to those notions. That’s what lets me determine how well I’m doing.
How happy I am.
How close I’m living to myself.
When I make that comparison, it gives me a better sense of my own direction.
When I don’t compare myself to others, I don’t have to deal with the fallout of a sense of failure.
A sense of failure that is completely inevitable, because there’s no way to feel good about myself if I measure up against someone who is living a completely different life.
I speak to artists and creatives and founders who want to measure themselves against Evan Spiegel and feel bad because they’re not billionaires before the age of 30. Or feel bad because they don’t think they’ll ever be billionaires.
What I ask them is — why compare their achievements, successes, and lifestyles to their idols, when the values their idols have are probably so wildly different from their own?
If you want to be happy about your life, measuring those values and how closely you’re living — that’s the important part.
This piece originally appeared on Medium.
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