I Am Not You
and I’m finally cool with that
I’ve been reading some awesome and inspiring articles here on Medium as well as other outlets lately. We live in an amazing time with so many ambitious people sharing how they’re bettering themselves and the world. It’s great to see others not settling for mediocrity, but striving to improve the quality of their lives and the lives around them.
Just this past week, I’ve read really great articles on how to wake up earlier, the benefits of a minimal lifestyle, how to become successful, and the importance of routines. While they have been very insightful and inspiring, they have also been challenging because I find myself wanting to be like everyone else.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have this internal drive to constantly be learning and bettering myself in some way or another. I think this comes from a good place, but it can also be a big struggle. I read all these inspiring writings and think to myself, “Holy smokes, that’s cool! I’m going to do that too!” The problem is that I read multiple articles and books like these all the time.
So there I am, reading article after article, chapter after chapter, about things I’m going to do in order to improve my life, my career and the entire planet. Not surprisingly, I get overwhelmed and quit before I even begin to change anything. I get a little depressed and realize I have too many things in my life that need fixing.
This is slightly insane because, when I actually think about it, I really like my life. I’m married to an amazing, beautiful girl who encourages me like crazy. We recently moved to Austin, TX where awesome things happen all the time. I have a great job as a web designer and get to work from home (or anywhere, really). We have a nice apartment. We’re able to pay our bills and our shitty student loans. I have a great family who I know will always have my back.
Despite all these things that are supposed to make me happy, I still find myself with a great sense of discontentment. No matter how good I have it, I still want what others have and I want to do what they do. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s super valuable to read about someone else’s struggles and how they overcame them somehow. And I’m definitely not just going to stop reading all these great articles. Most of the things that I now enjoy about my life actually came from some conscious change I made in the past.
But I’ve realized that what works for you, isn’t always going to work for me — or even benefit me in any capacity.
Taking steps to improve your life is extremely rewarding. I’m not telling you to quit reading these “self improvement” articles (because this is definitely one of those articles), but I am saying that you should make a point to tackle your steps of change with moderation — so as not to get overwhelmed and ultimately quit.
Evaluate your own life and unveil the areas that you’d actually like to improve. Also, it’s just as important to unveil the areas that you enjoy — this will remind you that your life really isn’t all that bad. If you know you love where you live, you might not get as jealous when you read about how someone’s life changed for the better now that they’re living in Italy (okay, bad example, because that’s always going to sound awesome).
There are so many creatively brilliant people in the world — and it’s hard not to wish we were living their lives. But I’m starting to realize that I have what it takes to make my own life brilliant and memorable. We all do. One step at a time.
So take my advice or leave it — because, in reality, I am not you.
To help yourself, you must be yourself. — Dave Pelzer