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Stop Measuring Your Success through Comparison with Others!

Is Life Satisfaction Possible?

With all our privileges in modern society, why is life satisfaction such an elusive target? Could it be our success matrix is off target?  We seek happiness through material goods and social standing.  In other words, comparing ourselves to others and constantly coming up short.

This “keeping up with the Joneses” struggle is not new.  The phrase originates from a newspaper comic of the same name first published in 1913.  But our exposure to the number of “Joneses” has exponentially increased in the last few decades.  Due to the inundation of images of beautiful people and stories of extraordinary achievers, we easily fall into the trap of thinking our life sucks (when it doesn’t).  We berate and kick ourselves for not living up to our friends’ curated social media reel or celebrities’ extravagant lifestyles.  Consequently, we ride the ugly jealousy train more times than we should!

The problem is our perception & focus.

So, why do we lose sight of all our blessings by focusing on what we don’t have?  Much of the problem originates with what we focus on and our perception of reality.  We need to stop measuring the quality of our life with the “Joneses” matrix.

In his book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, Mark Manson1 points to the important role your chosen success matrix (i.e. how you measure success) plays in determining life satisfaction.  He compares the life of two musicians kicked out of their bands.  The first, Dave Mustaine, co-forms the legendary heavy metal band Megadeth.  Despite multiple world tours and selling over 25 million albums, he felt like a failure because his fame and fortune didn’t surpass that of his old band, Metallica.  The second musician, Pete Best, never became a superstar or made millions of dollars.  However, in an interview later in life, he stated he was far happier than he ever would have been with his old band.  His quieter life allowed him to create a good marriage, have wonderful children and a stable life.  Something his old band mates, the Beatles, struggled to find.

Changing the way we measure success increases life satisfaction.

These stories illustrate that we can find happiness and contentment by shifting our perception and using a better measurement of success.  So, how do we choose a better success matrix?  Here are some thoughts:

  1. Take time to discover what is really important to you. Identify your beliefs, values, and passions.  Consider the activities that fill you with anticipation, excitement, and joy. Write them out.  If you are struggling, this simple exercise can help – imagine we are at your funeral (I know, just what you want to think about…but stay with me), how would you like to be remembered, what characteristics would you want your loved ones to use in describing you, what deeds would your eulogy highlight?
  2. With that end-of-life picture in mind, develop long, medium and short-term goals and actions you can take to move you in that direction.
  3. Move towards those goals on day at a time.  Stop with the excuses and schedule time for the activities you love! Measure your progress against the person you were yesterday, not the opportunities and successes experienced by friends or strangers.  If you catch yourself looking at your neighbor, refocus on your end vision.  Remember, you are developing your unique potential.

While we may never “keep up with the Joneses,” we can create a life we are proud of.  A life filled with purpose and love.  Reach and fulfill your dreams, and be sure to take some time each day to enjoy the journey.

Sending you love and light ~ Jennifer

1A full book review of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” will be coming shortly.  It is definitely worth a read and can be found below.

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    1. Jennifer Bennett Fry

      Thanks Christy! We all need reminders once in a while!

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