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March 8, 2023
How does other people’s success affect you?
Some admit that it makes them feel like even more of a failure. They see someone winning and it triggers sadness, insecurity, inferiority and resentment.
Suddenly all of their mistakes, failures and suddenly bubble to the surface, and they get the sinking feeling that they’re behind schedule in life.
It’s like being single in your twenties when all your friends are getting married. You realize that you can attend so many weddings in one year before you take to the streets and start screaming.
On the other hand, other people’s successes can also have a positive influence. Their wins can trigger inspiration, hope, possibility and motivation. You see them thriving and think to yourself, wow, if they found their thing, then there must be another thing out there for someone like me.
What validation! The fact that it happened at all is proof that it’s possible. Where there is one, there is a ton, so let’s go out there and get it.
This dichotomy reminds me of my favorite scene in my favorite space movie. Watney gets left behind by his flight crew and presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, he utilizes his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet.
Spoiler alert, he does make it back home. Watney later becomes a survival instructor for astronaut candidates. And on the first day of class, here’s the speech he gives to his young, wide eyed students:
At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now, you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and then you solve the next one, and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.
Watney’s approach to success is that it’s an invitation to choose. To decide that reality is a pure glowing source inspiration. It’s not further confirmation of just how screwed we really are. It’s not evidence of how far behind schedule we’ve gotten. It doesn’t cloud the clarity of our creative vision.
All of that is scarcity thinking.
Anytime we see someone else winning, our inner monologue should go, hell yeah, good for them. And what’s good for them is good for me.
Years ago while having coffee with a colleague, I had a moment like this. Todd was telling me that as full time entertainer, he always struggled with the contractual side of his business. He became so busy doing gigs that he didn’t have time to manage the books.
That’s when he teamed up with an engineer to build software that streamlined gig booking, professional contracts and business tracking for entertainers just like him. Todd now makes just as much money from his platform as he does from his performances.
Isn’t that amazing? Doesn’t that make you want to build something of your own?
Hearing his story was so inspiring me to me, that I left that coffee meeting and went straight home to figure out how to replicate the same model for my business. Which I did do, albeit several years later.
Because to me, his achievement was proof that the pie was infinite, and there were way more slices than I could possibly imagine. That’s an abundant response to someone else’s success.
Had I walked away thinking, oh fuck that guy, he thinks he’s so cool because he has his own software, then I wouldn’t be where I am today with my own business.
Lesson learned, reality can be is a pure glowing source inspiration, if we allow it to be. Other people’s prosperity doesn’t have to mean we’re behind schedule in life.
If prosperity is available to others, does that make it yours for the asking as well?