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How to Stop Feeling Left Behind If You Still Aren’t ‘Successful’
Updated 20 Mar, 2021

When success doesn’t come fast, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others and feel like you’re being left behind. In those times, I challenge you to remember this one thing.

When you’re forging your own path in life, maybe through becoming an entrepreneur or pursuing an unconventional goal, progress doesn’t always come easy.

You don’t have a map and a lot of the time it feels like you’re just blindly grappling in the dark hoping something’s gonna stick.

It can be tough, in those times, not to compare yourself to peers and feel like you’re being left behind.

Maybe you’re seeing all your friends with high-paying corporate jobs doing adult things like buying properties or going on honeymoon to Bora Bora.

Meanwhile….you’ve moved back in with your parents, and can only afford to eat out once a month.

In those times I challenge you to remember what success means to you.

Or if you’ve never considered it before, stop and spend some time defining it.

What criteria are you using to judge success in life?

For example:

For me, success is about living a life that fits my values and purpose.

This includes helping the world in some way, feeling gratitude every day, growing as a person, valuing the ones I love and contributing good to the world.

As long as I’m working towards or living these values, then to me, that’s ultimate success.

What about you?

When you compare yourself to your peers and see how ‘ahead’ they are. What criteria are you using to judge this?

More than likely, you’ve adopted some element of society’s definition of success as your own.

You know the drill…high-paying career, nice car, being married by a certain time, owning a house, settling down with kids.

Don’t get me wrong, all of that is nice to have.

But you have to consider, if that’s all you had and were working towards, would you be happy?

If you’re forging your own path or even just have that urge inside you, I’d say probably not; otherwise you’d be over there, merrily chasing those things already, instead of over here, agonising over it with me.

You made a choice to be where you are because those things don’t fit with what success means to you.

In moments of doubt, you have to pull on this definition of success. You have to know your ‘why’ and what you truly value and want to achieve in life.

It’s your best defense against that niggling, annoying voice that whispers ‘you’re a failure’ ‘look at everyone else’ ‘what are you doing with your life?’ ‘what have you got to show for yourself?’ ‘you’re being left behind’.

Now, stop and ask yourself what exactly you’re being left behind with; If it’s climbing the corporate ladder or getting married by a certain time – do you actually want those things or do you want them because it’s what other people say being ‘successful’ is supposed to be like? If it’s the latter, shut that voice up and move on.

Forging your own path and working towards your own definition of success is harder than chasing the conventional path. You have to find your own way. There’s no map.

And more often than not, it can feel like you have no view of where you are, or if you’re getting anywhere at all.

But if it’s painful, with shitty payoff, and you’re still willing to do it? Then I say you’re on to something and to keep at it.

You don’t get anywhere by accident. You make choices every day that take you one way or the other. The choices you made brought you here. You chose to be here. And that’s a good thing because it means you are exactly where you need to be.

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