How to stop feeling like a failure

by Yann Girard
photo by z s

I really wonder what’s going on in people’s heads.

Especially in young people’s heads.

One of the most asked questions online is How do I stop feeling like a failure. Or I’m 20-something years old and feel like I haven’t achieved anything in my life.

What the hell? How could anyone have achieved anything in their twenties?And why would anyone even want to achieve success in their twenties?

Your twenties are there to gain experiences. And not to collect trophies.

It’s hard to collect trophies. Just getting one lousy trophy takes most of us an entire lifetime. Some people only get their trophy once they’re dead.

Still, these kinds of questions are all over the place.

If you go on Quora and check out the category Life or anything similar you will find hundreds of similar questions. So I guess this might be a real problem of teenagers or young adults these days.

And it’s crazy. When I look back at my own life, I barely knew what I’d do the next day. Or the next week. Or the next month. Or the next year. I didn’t know anything.

All I knew back then was that I had to get one foot in front of the other.

Heck, I still don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow..

And sometimes this meant to go one step forward and then you go out drinking with friends, wake up the next moment and don’t remember anything. Congratulations. I just went back one hundred steps.

That’s how my twenties were basically like. But it didn’t matter.

All that mattered was that I kept going. That I never stopped going. One foot in front of the other. Baby steps.

Until at one point I had a piece of paper that showed everyone that I was able to pass tests.

And then the next step followed. And then the next. And then the next. And one of these next steps turned into the article you’re reading right now.

The accumulation of these baby steps turned me into some sort of writer. But I never knew exactly what that next step would be. I was just making one step after another.

I never made ten steps at the same time. Always one small step. Until these small steps added up to what you’re reading right now.

Did I achieve anything in my life, yet? No, I’m just making one step after the other. And see what happens next.

I guess a really big advantage I had back then was that there was no success porn out there. I didn’t know any successful people back then. Now my niece who is only 10 years old knows who Elon Musk is. And who Steve Jobs was.

No wonder that we all feel like failures. We’re constantly exposed to a hand full of people who made it big. Really, really, really big.

And through social media, the Internet and everything else these folks and their success is way more accessible than it ever was before.

Sure, there were loads of successful people a few decades or even centuries ago. They were just not so accessible back then. They didn’t feel so close. You didn’t read about them all the time.

Back then Julius Caesar wouldn’t send you a tweet. You couldn’t follow Napoleon on Facebook. Or take a look at Gandhi’s Instagram account.

There was no real connection. And no one was talking about them. Everyone was busy minding their own business. Everyone was busy making sure their families survived.

Today we all make sure that we don’t miss the new series on Netflix. We have more time than we ever had before. You reading this piece is the best example..

And the more time you have, the more you’ll look at what your neighbor has. And the more jealous you’ll get. And the more you’ll feel like a failure..

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