Them: landing a new promotion, paying off their car, celebrating an engagement.
You: still circulating your resumes while working part-time at El Polo Loco, hoping you have enough change for the transit ride home, sifting through online dating profiles of bathtub beer connoisseurs and potential serial killers.
At one point or another, we’ve all been that friend. Well, not literally. But even the most successful people will tell you that they’ve grappled with feelings of inadequacy before.
The important thing to remember is a jewel of cliché—but still true. Where you are now is not your final destination. Yes, your current situation does not reflect you on your best day. Or second best day. Or one-hundredth. But with hard work and gumption, someday you will be able to reflect on the state of your life with pride.
If you are actively seeking ways to better yourself, taking note from successful counterparts, and consistently putting in work, you will reap the benefits of your toil.
Still, it can be disheartening to feel left behind from the myriad of positive achievement you feel surrounds you. But it’s important to remember that these things are positive things. If you were in the same position, or rather, when you are in the same position, you’ll want your friends to be happy for you.
You won’t want your celebrations to be mired with petty rivalries or envy. You’ll want your friends to reflect the peace and happiness that you exude. Be that mirror for them. You’ll need jubilous mirrors of your own in time.
What you’re feeling right now is only important if you allow it to sour you from effort. It is only important if it bellies bitterness for those succeeding around you and inspires you not to try.
All the effort this journey exhausts from you is what will make you appreciate the final destination that much more. Sure, it wasn’t a linear succession like you expected. Not everything went according to plan. In fact, overwhelmingly, little did.
But the attitude that kept you from becoming defined by those circumstances was, hopefully, always being receptive to learning. To taking the lessons from every experience and putting them to good use.
And, however mangled the road, staying on it with the fervent hope that it would lead somewhere better. The reality is, you’re not lagging behind. You’re just taking a different road.