Do you tend to compare yourself to others? Do you constantly feel pressured to conform to certain standards, to fit yourself in a perfect mold as told by society? Today’s episode is about our unique path in life. Click below to listen! 🙂
Starting from this episode, I’ll be adding transcripts that you can find below each episode. Today’s transcript can be found below. What do you guys think? Do you listen to the audio or only read the transcript? Let me know via the contact form.
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Our Unique Path in Life [Transcript]
Hey everyone! Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 12! I’m Celestine Chua from PersonalExcellence.co.
First off, I’d like to apologize for the intermittent uploads for the podcast, and even the YouTube channel. A big reason is that I’ve just been struggling to find a stable and a quiet place to record my audio podcasts and YouTube videos. That’s why you can see that I haven’t been doing any video for the past two years. And the podcast… yeah. I’ve also been really slow in the updates. In the meantime, I’m just trying to find opportunities where I can record new podcasts and speak to you guys. I really hope that in time to come, I’ll be able to record more episodes on a regular basis.
So currently I’m experimenting with a new podcast format. If you’re an existing listener, you probably know that The PE Podcast episodes tend to be between 30 to 45 minutes long, with a series of tips on the topic itself. Now, the new podcast format that I am experimenting with consists more of short-form topics, and in each episode I’ll be focusing on sharing one big idea. Let me know what you guys think at personalexcellence.co/contact/! I always love to hear your feedback!
Today’s topic is on our unique path in life. For all of us growing up in today’s world, I’m sure you see comparisons abound all the time. There are comparisons with grades when you’re in school… coming from teachers, parents, and even your friends, your schoolmates. Many people are often comparing grades, like who’s got better grades, more achievements, etc.
Then in life… you see people comparing things like the age people marry. This is very common in Asia. After you are married, there are comparisons in terms of the house, apartment you live in. After that, comparisons in terms of kids, who just had a kid, how many kids people have. Career-wise, too — like who got what job, how much someone is earning. So there are just these comparisons all the time. And it’s really subtle too. Sometimes, it’s not even obvious when the comparisons are being done.
This is a phenomenon known as Keeping up with the Joneses, where there’s this constant comparison with the person next to you. It could be our neighbors. It could be a comparison with your schoolmates, classmates, colleagues, friends, the people who grew up with you, or even people online. Online, everyone feels like they’re just next to us. We have Facebook, Instagram, and all that, and we can see what people are doing in just one click.
So it’s increasingly easy to see what people are doing. With just a simple click, a simple message, a simple look, you can glance through people’s timeline and immediately see what they have been up to. And obviously, most people would just put their highlights in life. These days, there are countless apps, software to edit and present this perfect image online.
So more and more, we’re faced with this perfect imagery of people’s lives. This increases this pressure to compare and wonder, Okay, why am I not at this level? Or if you are running an online business, it’s so easy to be comparing with someone else’s metrics. Followers, figures — all these are open for everybody to see. Or even number of comments, the feedback people are getting, and so on.
Now, what I want to share here is to remember: when you are comparing with other people, when you are feeling bad and thinking, Oh this person has this! This person is walking down this perfect track in life! Oh this person has accomplished all of these things! Just remember at this point that all of us have our unique path in life. You have your unique path in life. I have my unique path in life. So does the random person walking on the street. We have our unique paths in life. All of us have our own individual backgrounds. Our own set of parents. Our own set of upbringing. The places we grew up in. The experiences that we have. These are unique to us and because of that, we are all on a unique track.
Now I understand that we have schools and systems that tend to commoditize people. Why do I say that? Because right from enrollment and matriculation in school, you are at a particular age and so are your peers and classmates. Everyone around you is at the same age and you move through the same class, the same curriculum. And because everyone is at the same age, there’s just this readiness for teachers, systems to distill and treat people more like metrics and statistics.
That’s where everyone sort of becomes a commodity, because it then boils down to the grades you’re having, the achievements that you have, in order to stand out above and beyond other people. Then after you graduate, this comparison switches to jobs. What pay are you getting? What job did you get into? What company did you get into? And then you become defined by your job, your company, your company’s brand name, and the number on your paycheck.
Even though society and systems do such comparisons, and these in a way makes us lose our humanity and sort of forget that we’re individual beings… at the end of the day, remember that schools, systems — they are really there for us to learn skills and to equip ourselves with knowledge, so that we can use these skills and knowledge to improve our life and to get into careers that we like. Or to move forward in the path that we want.
So putting this into perspective, remember that no matter what others do or how others try to treat you or how society tries to treat you, know that you are a unique individual with your unique life path. So that means there’s really no need to compare. There’s no need to compare in terms of, “Oh that person got married at age 28! So I should try to get married at age 28.” And when you are not married at age 28, 29, 30, 31, or 32, there’s no need to feel bad about that because we are all on our unique path.
Same for when someone reaches a certain level of career or business success at the age of say, 25 or 30 or 35. There’s no need to look at that and feel, “Oh geez this person achieved this level of success! But I’m like five years older! I’m not even there yet.” There’s no need to do that.
Or even say, someone chooses to have a kid at age 30, and then has two kids at age 32, and three kids at age 35. There’s no need to look at that and feel, “Oh geez, I’m 32 now. I don’t have a kid. Should I start to have a kid?”
What’s most important is what you want for yourself and what you want for your life. Not comparing with other people and what they have done in their lives. I mean, you can look on at other people’s lives as a way to get inspiration, as a way to get some reflection points for yourself, as a way to ponder, Okay, am I on the right track towards what I want for myself?
But don’t look towards other people’s paths as this model you should replicate, that you should follow suit. And then feel pressured when you’re not at that same place. That’s because other people are on their own tracks, and you have your own track. For what it’s worth, as you’re looking at the people and what they have “achieved,” you probably have achieved things that people don’t have. That are just unique to you.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to Create your path. Find your path. Know your worth. Not comparing yourself with other people as a way to pressurize yourself, to de-humanize, or to commoditize yourself. But remembering that you are this unique soul here on Earth. On your unique life path and your journey. And it’s about discovering what YOU want. Creating a life that you can be proud of. One that you can look back on and know that it is a life well lived. 🙂
I have a few articles for you: One is on how to stop comparing, and another article on finding your inner self. Both are related to today’s topic, that I have linked in the show notes at personalexcellence.co/podcast/12/.
If you have found this podcast helpful, I’d super appreciate it if you can leave a review on iTunes, and you can do that at personalexcellence.co/itunes/. I’ll see you guys in the next episode. In the meantime, remember: You’re beautiful, you’re perfect, you’re complete. Bye guys!
- Why You Should Stop Comparing Yourself With Others (and How to Do So)
- Finding Your Inner Self
- I’m Depressed about My Lack of Progress. What Should I Do?