Average men with no ambition will look down on men of achievement and disparage them, belittling the accomplishments of others so they can feel better about themselves. This is the classic “knock down the other towers so that mine is the highest” approach. This path leads to mediocrity and men of substance have no time or interest for that.
Conversely, men of ambition and drive will look up to men of achievement and take inspiration from them. But as ambitious men, we must be careful to avoid crossing the line from inspiration into desperation or jealousy because other men seem to be far ahead of us in one particular area. Focusing on other’s achievements and comparing them to your own is a fantastic way to be completely miserable. In extreme cases it can lead to depression and a sense of purposelessness or hopelessness. What’s the point of even trying, you might say, if you can never be as good at X as Y.
There are two important points to bear in mind when facing these kinds of thoughts.
Live Your Own Story
Remember that losers focus on winners, and winners focus on winning. Focusing outwards onto other people who are winning will not bring you success and fulfilment in your own life. The correct path, and the one that all winners follow is to look inwards to your own experiences and fulfil your own life story.
Other people live their life story. They are not you. They have different experiences, resources, skills, genetics and contacts than you do. It does not make sense for you to try to live their story. Instead you must look inside yourself, find your own story and live that. Every time you see a man with some achievement and think “I wish I had that”, look inside and decide whether working towards that goal fits with your life story or not. If it doesn’t, you can move on happily knowing that it wasn’t your path.
I tried to learn guitar for years because I saw other men doing it and thought that I had to learn it to “catch up” and have what they had. I finally gave it up because it never came naturally to me, and I realised that it wasn’t part of my life story. It turns out that programming WAS part of my life story and came completely naturally to me, so I focused on that with outstanding results.
You know something is part of your life story when it comes to you in visions and dreams.
You Do Not Know What They Sacrificed
I have a friend who is on track to break a million dollars before he hits 30. Some men might look at him, compare to their own bank account and feel despondent because they are not on track for the same goal.
But they have no idea what price he has paid for it. I know personally this man has spent years since his early twenties grinding away at 12-14 hour days in a major city, day in, day out. He has not had extensive travel experience. He does not speak any other languages. He is not particularly successful with women. When he reaches his goal, what will he have apart from a big number in his bank account?
I have another friend who is wildly successful with women. He has bedded hundreds of girls, many of whom are models. He lived a party lifestyle and spent a lot of time on beaches and in clubs. You might compare this man’s lifestyle to your own and feel envy and a sense of inadequacy that you haven’t had the same success as him. But you are not seeing the whole picture.
This man is now in his early thirties with nothing to show for it. He partied away his twenties, now he has no money, no valuable skills and no professional network. Where will he go from here?
Every man lives his own story. When you find yourself facing a feeling of inadequacy, remember that the only story that matters is the one that you tell with your own life. Yes, look to other men for inspiration and learn what you can from them, but stop it there. Keep your focus on yourself, your own life and your own story. And for every action you take, think to yourself, “does this fit into my own life story?” If not, then throw it away – it’s not for you.
Or, as Marcus Aurelius said:
Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.