Recently, I’ve been reading 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson, and something really resonated with me in the book, and that is Rule 4: “Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today”.
The chapter talks about how it’s pointless comparing ourselves to others. Someone better than you in running does not make him or her better than you in other aspects. But we are constantly comparing our single attribute without taking into account other factors.
Your colleague might have a higher pay than you, but what you might not take in account is the fact that he might be stressed and doesn’t feel any fulfilment in life, and you might have a loving family and you’re emotionally stable.
I’ve encountered this myself. My housemate comes home every night to tell a story of how another girl confessed to him. And when I compare myself to him, I felt totally unwanted, undesired. I felt like shit. However, we talked about it and he mentioned that he was anxious because my career was so far ahead. He was comparing himself to me.
What happens after is an endless cycle of comparison. You’re either going to constantly chase after that one person, or you’ll surpass said person and you’ll find another person to compare yourself to. It’ll be an endless cycle of dissatisfaction.
And that’s when I start to realise. There’s no point comparing yourself to others. You are you. When you compare yourself to others, you miss out on all your good points.
There’s always someone that’s going to better than you, no matter how hard you try. Even when you’re at the top, someone younger will eventually overtake you in the future. I believe life should be just about your own constant improvement. Because chasing after someone feels like you’re the supporting character in your own story.
I’ve chosen not to compare myself, even if my subconscious tells me to. Instead of comparing myself to push myself, I’ve decided to do these 3 little things that’ll make tomorrow better.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes. We all have.
However, by realising our mistakes, acknowledging it, and knowing what we did wrong, helps us learn from our mistakes, and that’s what people fail to do.
If you hurt your friend’s feelings by saying something offensive. You take that into consideration the next time you talk to your friend. If you say it again the next time you converse with your friend. You’ve repeated that same mistake and this means you’ve learned nothing from your last engagement.
It’s hard to identify these mistakes. It’s easier said than done. But by reflecting on our actions, we get a better sense of what mistakes we’ve actually made.
You can start by asking yourself these:
“What did I do today?”
These involved actions and tasks that you performed that day. Like working on your assignments, watching YouTube videos, going groceries shopping, reading articles, browsing Reddit, etc.
“What were the outcomes?”
After understanding and going through what you’ve done today, identify what were the outcomes of your actions. If you’ve watched YouTube for a long extended period of time, your outcome could be: you entertained yourself but you failed to complete your assignment. Meaning that you’ve procrastinated.
“What action can I take?”
Acknowledging and understanding your mistakes is not enough. You’ve got to learn from it and take action. For example, if you want to stop procrastinating, you can take action and install an app that stops you from being distracted, like forestapp.cc (not sponsored). Then you use the app! There’s no point in installing it if you’re not going to use it!
Not just today, but the long past as well
While I’ve only mentioned questions that you can ask yourself on a daily basis. I believe reflecting on the days before, and long past is helpful as well.
The sinful actions that you’ve done to your friends, family. We’ve made so many mistakes in the past that we tend to forget about them. Looking back, I realised how much my parents have actually done for me, their sacrifice, their love, yet at those moments, I never appreciated it.
A few days ago was Mother’s day and I have never wished my mum “Happy Mother’s Day” before in my entire life. I want to tell her I love her. Having not done this before, I thought it might be too awkward for me.
But I mustered up the courage anyway, I took my phone out, opened WhatsApp and sent my mum a few messages, wishing her Mother’s day, and I love her.
While it wasn’t as grand as what every other child has done for their mums, but I believe that at least I’ve improved since last year, that’ll be a good start at change.
Doing what you want
Remember when you shared your dreams and your friends doubted you?
Remember when you created a piece of art and you thought it wasn’t great?
I’m sure there moments in your life that you thought you created something great. You were so proud of it that you showed it off to your friends, family, the world. But instead of hearing supportive words, you get backlash, you get friends who make fun of your work, your family who thinks you need to try something else, the world who just tells you “you suck”.
You might think this is only common among younger-aged children, but it happens in real life as well.
I’ve experienced it during my last internship in Perth. I was living in the same accommodation with some inter-state interns. We were having dinner in one of the rooms when suddenly, one of the interns started reading my blog posts out loudly and sarcastically.
I’ve asked him to stop as it was embarrassing for me, but he didn’t, and I felt really terrible after that. Thinking that I’m not good enough to write.
However, I knew everyone had to start from somewhere. No one starts out perfect, no one starts out on top. And the people on top? I believe they’ve worked and trained hard, day and night to get to where they are today.
So when it comes down to constantly improving my craft against giving up after being butthurt, it’s obvious what you should do. Why let some assholes opinion or words ruin your tomorrow?
Whether you’re making art, Minecraft videos, covering songs, who cares what other people think. They don’t appreciate it, and they never will. Don’t let some dickheads words tear down your dreams, they won’t matter anyway. If they were genuinely good people, they would be supporting you instead of pulling you down.
Like a wise man once said:
“Don’t let your dreams be dreams! Just do it!”
– Shia LaBeouf
Saying what needs to be said
If you’ve got something that needs to be said, just say it.
Miss someone? Tell that person you miss them and want to talk.
Wrongly doubted someone? Apologise to that person and say you want to make up.
Feel like something is wrong? Speak up! Tell people how you feel.
There’s one sentence from Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life that I really love, and that is:
“What could I say to someone else – my friend, my brother, my boss, my assistant – that would set things a bit more right between us tomorrow?”
It’s not only about solidifying and appreciating your relationship with the people you love, it’s also about fixing whatever is wrong with these people.
If you had a fight with your brother a few months ago and you haven’t fixed it, you should call him, text him, like right now. It doesn’t matter if your ego is hurt, it doesn’t matter who was in the right or wrong, it’s about fixing that problem now so that you’ll have a better tomorrow, both for you and your brother.
I believe if we want to make things better for tomorrow, we’ve got to be the bigger person and take action. You can’t expect someone you fought with to call you up and apologise, even if he was in the wrong. If you’re not doing it, how do expect that person to do the same?
Sure, you might think that you’re in the right. But everyone wants to be right and thinks they’re right. When in fact, you could be wrong as well. Why ruin a good relationship just because you want to be “right”?
• • •
TL;DR: If you want to better person tomorrow. Comparing yourself to others is toxic isn’t the way you should go about improving yourself. Instead, strive to make yourself better every day by performing small tasks that’ll make tomorrow a better day.
It’s tough, but by reminding ourselves of “what can we do today for a better tomorrow”, it’ll eventually become a habit and it only gets easier from there. You don’t have to force yourself to try and improve every aspect of your life now, you just have to go at your own pace.