Do you cheer when your friends win? Or does it eat you up inside? It used to eat me up too.
I was jealous. That much I admit.
I’d cheer for your success, so long as you weren’t too successful.
The success of others, especially those closest to me, made me feel insecure. It would shine bright halos on my shortcomings and failures. I hated the feeling, but it was inescapable. I couldn’t sleep it off. I couldn’t just ignore it.
Would I be mediocre forever? Living paycheck to paycheck while being forced to watch my closest companions scale to heights I would never achieve? Surely we would grow apart… at some point, our dynamic would no longer be sustainable.
I was 18, but these thoughts latched to my back like a shadow. I couldn’t do much about it. I was bitter at the world and competitive to a fault.
There was no escape.
Throughout my senior year, I watched friends and classmates I grew up with get accepted to fancy universities. They were receiving full-ride scholarships, job offers and trekking off to new realms. I was not. I was stuck.
Sure, I was happy for them. They worked hard for what was given to them. They knew exactly what they wanted out of life and snatched it. I never did. So, I had to deal with disappointment from all angles — it ate me up inside.
My entire life, I was told I was special. You probably were too. I never wanted to take the traditional route. I didn’t want to work a soulless job for a corporation that could replace me with a snap of their finger. I didn’t want to fall into mundane routines or work until the day I died.
It was an obvious trap. I saw it. But my rebellion set me back eons behind my peers. So, I had to make a choice: Conform or die. I conformed.
I would tell people where I worked like I was proud — they’d ooze over it, as if it actually mattered. Deep down I knew the truth. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. I didn’t get any fulfillment out of it. Worst of all; It was boring.
I had big dreams and aspirations. I was obsessed with making leaving my mark in this world. But all of that was on hold for now. I buried my dreams carefully like diamonds, underneath a muddied earth.
Wake up. Work. Burnout. Repeat.
There was a noticeable rift between my past and future self. The rift only deepened as days became blurrier and weeks became months. I was becoming the person my past self vowed to never be. I was no longer in control — my jealousy and envy were.
As soon as I came to terms with that, something clicked.
Accountability will always lead to the truth. My truth was simple: My jealousy drove me to settle, do things I hated and become a person who I did not want to be. The jealousy stemmed from many things… but the main culprit? Comparison. Competing with others and comparing myself to other people.
In my head, I was doing it constantly. But it was always a zero-sum game. Someone always lost and that person was me, because everyone is unique. You can’t compete with somebody at being themself — but you can compete your past self.
Read this carefully.
True growth emerges from competing with past versions of yourself.
You can trace somebody else’s path, or paint your own picture.
The choice will always be yours. — Lite.
Grind Harder: by LitecoinYagami is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.