Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

You're Not That Other Person

I’m in the midst of making a number of changes in various aspects of my life. I’ve given myself three years in which to make those change. In fact, I call the exercise my Three Year Countdown.

I’ve mentioned the countdown in passing to a few people. Some of them have asked me why I’ve allotted three years to make those changes. They tell me that I should make those change sooner. That I should make them faster. They tell me about various someones on the internet who did similar things in six months or less.

I’m sure you’ve heard that at least once. That some other person did something you’re struggling with in a shorter period of time. In the minds of others, that makes you slow or less competent or less likely to succeed.

It’s a symptom of our age. Everything is a rush to the finish line. Everything has to be done now. Everyone has to be a ninja/jedi/rock star/superhero at everything they do. If haven’t made millions on an IPO or founded several startups or mastered 23 different disciplines by time you’re 30, you’re considered a failure.

None of that is true. Not in the least.

Don’t pay attention to what other people say. Ignore the slings and arrows. Ignore the comparisons.

You’re not that other person. Any comparison with them is worthless. It’s unfair.

That other person doesn’t have the same goals as you. They don’t live your life. They haven’t, as the cliche goes, walked a mile in your shoes. That other person exercises no control or influence over you.

What that other person has done, or is doing, isn’t important. It has no effect on you or your aims. What you want to do is important. What you’re doing is important. Focus on that and nothing else.

Work at your own pace. Follow your own schedule. You’ll reach the end of your journey not because you rushed, not because you cut corners or hacked the system. You’ll reach the end because you played a long game, you did things your way. With any luck, you’ll finish your journey with more wisdom than when you started.

Just because it took you, say, two years to do what took someone else six months in no way diminishes your accomplishment. Remember that with what you do, you’re not competing against anyone. Your benchmark is you. No one else.

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