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  • Writer's pictureStan D

Having the tallest building in town

They say there's two ways to have the tallest building in town:

1. Tear down everyone else's building

2. Work harder than everyone else and build a better building

This is a great metaphor for how some people generally approach life...

In Bulgaria there's saying that goes something like: "I don't care about doing well, as long as my neighbor is doing worse". It's a loose translation, but I'm sure you get the picture...

It's a dark representation of how some people go through life. You may be surrounded by others who are doing worse than you, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you are doing well. There's plenty of ideas that suggest a better alternative. You don't have to blow out someone else's candle for yours to shine brighter. If you're the smartest kid in class, you're in the wrong class :)

Let me ask you something: Do you ever get a joyful feeling when you notice someone has fewer followers than you? Or when their post is getting less likes and comments than yours?

I'm sure that's not you, but maybe it's someone you know. Social media status is a tempting arena to play the comparison game and secretly hope that others fail so that you may win. Doesn't that sound messed up?

I'm also guilty of getting a little sense of satisfaction when I notice someone else gets 'in trouble'. With time, I've gotten better at catching myself thinking along those lines and recognizing it's a weakness of character. It's not helpful and just because someone else struggles, doesn't mean you're winning. Other's don't need to fail for you to succeed.

There are 2 kinds of mentalities about this that people operate with: scarcity and abundance. People with a scarcity mentality generally see thigs as zero-sum game. If you get more that means that there's less for me. You can guess that this is not great for cooperation and building relationships of trust and mutual benefit. People with an abundance mentality operate differently. They approach things with an attitude of there's plenty out there for everyone. If you get ahead and grow that does not mean there's less opportunity for me to do the same.

A way to test this is to observe how people react to success and accomplishments of others. Here is how you may notice some people go:

"Oh his dad bought him that car, he's family is loaded with money and he didn't have to work for it"

"That guy must be cheating, there's no way he's getting those results fair and square"

"Oh, she's friends with the boss, of course she's gonna get that promotion"

You see what these are - it's an attempt to disparage and discredit the achievement. Scarcity mentality at work.

I'm not saying that people don't get ahead by cheating, bending the rules, or just dumb luck - but generally people who are doing well have figured something out. They know a thing or two about the game they're playing and that helps them win and be successful.

Other people react to success differently. They use it as a source of inspiration, a kind of fuel. They see someone who's doing better and they go like:

"Hey, I want to learn what that person learned"

"I want to learn to communicate the way that person communicates"

"I need to start thinking the way she's thinking"

Totally different right? Why can't we use other people's accomplishments as something to learn from, get inspired and emulate?

There will always be someone out there that's doing better than you at something and that's Ok. If it's something that truly matters to you, here's a good way of looking at that: there's an opportunity to grow and improve. You can challenge yourself to grow beyond your current level. It's clearly possible - somebody else has done it already.

Don't try to tear down other people's buildings. Appreciate the example they've set. Then work to build a taller building of your own.

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