Why Do I Feel Like Everyone is More Successful Than Me?

So often when you’re working to accomplish something, it can seem like everyone else around you is having effortless success while you work day in and day out.

You compare yourself to them and it feels like you are standing still.

Believe me, I can relate.

I work in the entertainment industry, possibly one of the most competitive industries in the world.

Just about every task in the industry is incredibly complex.

Every aspect of a film or multimedia project takes a long time and requires a great deal of attention and care.

In the meantime, you turn on your TV or computer, or go to the movies and witness everyone else’s success.

It can get downright depressing when you’re in the midst of refining every detail on a project before release while a million other projects are ahead of yours.

The publicity for other people’s projects permeates the airwaves.

Comparing success happens in any industry

No matter what industry you’re in, if you’re facing challenges and see others who seem to be more successful than you flaunting their latest wins, it’s easy to slip into despair.

It’s easy to wonder if you should just give up.

If maybe you’re just not good enough or if you just don’t have the wealth and resources to succeed.

I’ve found, however, that each one of these moments of despair and self-questioning can, in fact, strengthen and empower you if you can get out of your own way and look at your circumstance with a clear head.

Here are a few things to consider:

1. The grass is Always Browner

If you’ve been working hard at achieving your goals and jealously looking at the success of others, odds are that there’s someone looking at you the same way.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

If you think about it, I’ll bet you even know who some of the people looking at you jealously are.

Reach out to them and give them a random encouraging word.

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It’ll help remind you of how far you’ve come too.

2. The Grass is Always Greener Too

We all think that things must be so much easier for so and so.

Sometimes we’re right.

I know a lot of people in my industry who were raised wealthy (I was most certainly not), or had much more support from family and friends, or just had an easy path for some reason.

You probably do too but no one else’s path is yours.

You’re supposed to have the experiences you have.

You’re supposed to gain success in your own way and under your own terms.

Remember that you can’t be someone else but you can be an excellent you, and your unique contribution to the world is yours alone.

It should look and smell different than anyone else’s!

You must, therefore, take a different path to get there.

Your unique experiences and struggles and successes are building something in you that will make you into something very special.

That’s a beautiful thing.

3. Re-evaluate

It never hurts to do a self-check and reevaluate.

Should you be on the path you’re on?

Sometimes we get onto a path based on a whim and are too stubborn to give it up even when we don’t care about it anymore.

Regardless, make sure you’re making a decision based on a combination of reasoned thought, intuition and true self-awareness.

Don’t quit just because it’s difficult, but don’t keep going if it’s really not for you anymore either.

4. Use These Feelings

Don’t let feelings of being second best or unworthy or underprivileged beat you into submission.

Instead, use these feelings as a motivator to work smarter AND harder and succeed.

Take a minute to mope if you must, then get mad and figuratively punch your self-defeating attitude in the face.

No one ever accomplished anything truly extraordinary when it was just handed to them.

If it’s an easy ride it’s not an accomplishment no matter how big it seems.

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So go accomplish something – something difficult and amazing.

5. Why Are You on the Path You’re On?

Ask yourself why you started doing what you do.

If you have enough passion for what you do, you’ll keep going no matter what.

You’ll find a way and if your success takes one year or forty, you’ll keep going because what else are you going to do with your life?

As one of my great teachers often said, don’t be one of those people who end up dying without knowing what it would have been like if they’d followed their bliss.

If you are meant to do it, it doesn’t matter if you fail, only that you gave it everything that you had.

6. Success Takes Time for Everyone

You’re probably connected with a lot of people between social media, traditional media and personal friends.

They aren’t all successful all of the time.

Most successful people rise to the top after many years of hard work and sacrifice and most have a string of failures before they hit success.

People rarely make social media posts or send press releases proclaiming all of their failures for the world to see. 

Everyone puts a spin on their social media posts and their publicity.

It’s really unfair to you to compare yourself to ANYONE else.

You’re really only comparing yourself to their public image.

Follow most people around and their seemingly perfect lives look a lot less perfect; maybe a lot like yours.

7. You Have No Competition

I remember talking with an actor before an audition for a theater company I was interested in working with many years ago.

We were both auditioning for the same role and I gave him a cough drop when he was having a throat issue.

He took the cough drop but suspiciously.

He told me that he viewed me as his competition and didn’t understand why I would help him.

As he waited for his call, he eyed the room suspiciously, while I was busy running lines and working the character. 

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As he reemerged from his audition he looked a bit smug and was dismissive when I bid him farewell.

My response was a warm closing salutation, and then I went back to my work.

I got the part and it was a very successful and award-winning run, the first of many with that small but prestigious company.

I often tell students in the few acting lectures I can make time for each year that they should never look at another actor as competition.

It will psyche you out.

You will get the roles you’re supposed to get.

Focus on doing your best and connecting well with the character. 

So it is with anything.

If you spend too much time keeping up with the Jones, your focus won’t be on meeting and exceeding your personal best.

A little competition CAN be a good thing of course.

You can learn by seeing what’s successful for others.

Watching others succeed can sometimes motivate you to reach farther than you would.

But at the end of the day, your focus should be on your own quest for personal excellence.

Perhaps you can reach further than anyone else ever has.

Why stop by just beating someone else at their own game?

If you’re doing something extraordinary, it’s going to be difficult to become successful.

That’s the nature of the extraordinary.

If it were easy, it would just be called ordinary.

So the next time you start to mope about the unfairness of it all, take heart, refocus and go do something awesome, however long it takes.

The alternative is to not give your special gifts to the world and that would be truly sad.

If we all gave our best and followed our bliss we would all benefit from each other’s genius.

So what crazy, difficult, and awesome things are you working on?

Please comment below and let’s give each other some encouragement.

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  1. Britt Moore

    December 2, 2019 at 11:35 PM

    im getting old and running out of time. At least thats how i feel at 47. i have two college degrees and have done some amazing things but it always seems like i cant get to the next level while everyone else does. everything just takes so long. ive been singing professional for 20 years and I keep getting so close to making it where i want to be and then something happens. a band member quits, someone gets sick and needs my help. someone moves. i just cant keep it together.

  2. Eric Schumacher

    May 9, 2019 at 6:28 AM

    Thanks for your comment Ashley F, and I’m glad it helped a little. I can understand how frustrating that must be. A lot of us have been in similar circumstances in fact.

    I think that these are the times when you have to believe in yourself when no one else will and to find a way to keep your emotional stamina up so that you won’t miss an opportunity. That’s not an easy thing when you feel like you’ve been beaten down, but if you let it get to you you may be looking down at just the moment when you should be looking up if that makes sense.

    I’m not sure if this helps but I think if you’ve found that opportunities are difficult for you to come by, you may need to get creative on how you find or create new ones.

    You might also ask the people you know who are less qualified and seem to be getting those opportunities, how they are doing it and perhaps something they can tell you might give you an insight about how you can turn the tides. Maybe there’s something they all have in common.

    I find that whenever I need opportunity the following works for me.

    Once you have a little data on how others are getting what you want, you have to become a job hunting badass. See if you can crack the code to finding the job you really want, and need and go at it with everything you’ve got. Run your job hunt like a business, and the product is your services as an employee. You are the star sales person and also the product. Wake up every day and decide that you are going to sell some product and then hit the phones, employment agencies, email, websites, and whatever other sources you can access. Be relentless. Read books on sales in fact. Job hunting is 100% sales and knowing how a master sales person works can get you miles ahead of others.

    Ive foudn that often the times when you get the most resistance are a test to see if you can push through and an opportunity to learn quickly how to become 100 times more effective then you would have been if you weren’t tested.

    I hope some of that helps.

    • Sm

      December 7, 2019 at 3:16 AM

      Maybe success in the things we truly want, the things that we have a love and passion for and once money comes into it isnt for us. Why it Seems like in life the corrupted people, the people with a privileged background are the ones that achieve what they want. I truly believe that no matter how much we are focused, how much we want something, how much effort we put into it and in the way how we want it to be, the level of success that we want will not happen. It’s a reality that some of us have to face and accept.

  3. Eric Schumacher

    May 9, 2019 at 6:02 AM

    Thank you for sharing that Van Lovell. that’s some excellent insight into how to get past large barriers to success. Just keep going and try not to let fear control you because you know you will recover from some of the tougher things if you just keep walking. A lot of folks become paralyzed with fear of any obstacle and never move past them. Quite a contract with your relatives and it’s interesting how some of the folks who brag the most are really the most in peril.

  4. Ashley F

    May 7, 2019 at 10:48 PM

    This helped a little. I’ve been in a really high stressed situation lately. I graduate with my Associates Degree on May 22. I just lost my job the day after I was to finish training, I never made it past that part. I have a little girl and i wsnt to work, but it seems even with all my experience and a degree, no one will give me a chance. I can’t catch a break and it’s really stressful and extremely emotional. I see other people with no degree light years ahead of me, and I feel as if I am stuck in quick sand. In happy for them, but why cant I be there? Why cant i catch a break? I have alot of talent and it doesnt seem to matter. It’s hard to keep yoir chin up when your standing still and everyone else is succeeding.

  5. Van Lovell

    January 23, 2019 at 3:10 PM

    My next door neighbors-Mother and adult son- buy a new used car every year. There are 4 in their yard. They brag about their $120 shoes and their new computer. They get disability checks every month and spend those checks like there is no tomorrow. I struggle to pay my bills every month and feel life is unfair. I visited their home and discovered that the 4 cars in their yard don’t run and the adult son refuses to sell them. The floors in their home are caving in and there is never enough money because the son spends it and the mother won’t do anything about it. They are both hoarders and their place is covered in garbage and that was the last time I’m going in there. They may have money but they have no idea how to budget and they smell bad and their home should be condemned. Their answer to their problems is more money, not to reduce the spending they already do. My life is hard and I struggle and I know that I can make my life better and they, for what ever reason, never will. I my lose my electricity in two days because I am unemployed but at least I know that it’ll be temporary and I can improve my life and not have to rely on charity for my life.

  6. C.A. - Toronto

    October 15, 2018 at 4:45 PM

    Thanks for this advice. It’s given me a much needed boost of confidence. I’ve heard many of these notes and observations in some form or another, but as with most things, unless you focus on them, they can wash over you rather than permeate your consciousness. I’m taking them to heart this time around! Much appreciated Eric!

    • Eric Schumacher

      October 16, 2018 at 3:25 AM

      I’m so glad you found it valuable C.A. so well said. We must focus on truly learning and embodying the knowledge in order for it to cause real change.Rock on. -Eric

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