No matter who we are or where we come from, we all want to be important. Whether you aspire to be a political leader, a teacher, a caretaker, or an entertainer, you surely want to make a difference and leave a legacy.
But unless you’re a true pioneer in your field, you’ve probably struggled with the comparison game. Most likely, there are a ton of successful people who have been doing what you want to do—and doing it well—for a long time. As you touch pen to paper to outline your first book, or throw your first pass in a college football game, or write your platform for your campaign for local office, it’s hard not to be intimidated. You may find yourself wondering:
How can I compete with the pros?
Why would people pay attention to me instead of the well-knowns?
How can I carve my own niche in a saturated market?
How can I possibly succeed?
The more you ask yourself questions like that, the more likely you are to give up on your goal before you even start. If you can’t convince yourself that what you’re doing matters, how will you convince anyone else?
I’m working on beating the comparison game, too. (Side note: I, a self-described word nerd, thought the word was “comparism” until my teens.) I’ve been completely inspired by the most influential minimalists: Joshua Becker, Courtney Carver, The Minimalists, Miss Minimalist, and Leo Babauta, among others. And I can’t help but think about how far behind them I’m starting: it seems that everyone and their brother is becoming a minimalist and writing a blog these days. So why would mine gain any notoriety?
The best thing you can remember, no matter what path you’re just starting out on, is that you should be doing it for you. Just beginning to declutter? Good for you! It doesn’t matter that other people have been pursuing minimalism for months, years, and decades. You are changing your life, one room at a time. Want to become a good writer? Just write. Find a daily prompt, ask a friend to edit, take part in NaNoWriMo—focus on being the best you can be, in whatever you want to accomplish, and then you can turn your attention to turning your skill into success.
The only way to win the comparison game is not to compete. Be content with your own progress, know that what you’re doing matters—that, there, is a true mark of success.