You always think you have it worse

I had a message on Twitter this week from a young guy in Texas. He’s in his late teens, and he’s looking to become a designer, and he told me he’s feeling pretty down about his dreams. The reason was, he felt he was so far away from the action, so far away from where the real projects were being built, and where the real opportunities were waiting.

It hit me like a tonne of bricks, because when I was his age, I felt exactly the same way about living in Australia instead of the USA. I grew up (and still live) thousands and thousands of miles from Silicon Valley, from the tech companies and startups I wanted to join, from the music scenes that I wanted to be a part of.

This guy lives in the state where they hold SXSW, a conference I’ve always wanted to go to but can’t manage, because it’s so fucking far away. I can remember reading about it every year when I was a teenager and saying…someday.

I told him that it’s okay to feel down about what you’re trying to do, and realizing any dream is a pretty tough proposition. But you have to work with what you’ve got. Because everyone in the world feels like they’ve got it worse than someone else.

Everyone in the world feels like if they just had person X’s life, or resources, or gifts, or location, then they could accomplish huge things. But person X is going through that exact feeling. And person X is working with whatever the fuck they’ve got.

We all wish we were dealt a better hand, right? I mean, if my parents had been rich, I wouldn’t have had to work at McDonalds to buy my first second hand Macbook. If I’d been born in America, I could have moved to San Francisco and joined the tech scene there.

But the truth is, we can’t waste our lives worrying about that shit. Particularly not as creatives, I mean we’re meant to be resourceful enough to take disparate materials and turn them into art, music, books and software. We’re supposed to be able to build companies around our passions.

We’re supposed to be able to make do with what we’ve got in order to do what we want.

Because in the end, it’s not about the hand we’re dealt. We can wish it had been different, but wishes aren’t worth shit for pennies. All we can do, what we have to do, is play the best game we can with the cards we’ve got.

I think if you asked almost anyone, no matter their success, they’ll tell you that at one point or another, they wished their lives were different. That’s something that humans just do. That’s probably why the first ever war was fought between our ancestors.

You always think you have it worse than someone. And you know what, maybe you do. But you won’t change it by wishing for it. All you can do is make what you’ve got work for you.

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