A common topic of discussion today is that of “peer pressure”. Especially among the youth of today we often hear about scary statistics about emotional problems, stress and even suicide. Yet, it all comes back to the choices we make. The groups we associate with, will to a large extent determine whether the peer pressure we experience is positive or negative.
This brings us to this week’s nugget #36 from An Enemy Called Average by John L. Mason. This week’s nugget says “people are born originals, but most die copies”.
Don’t Compare Yourself.
One of the biggest problems we face today is that of people with a low self-esteem. But where did it all start? How can we solve this problem? The place to start is; stop comparing yourself to other people.
A crucial point which I want to emphasize is to never compare yourself – and especially if you are a parent, never, never ever compare your child – to anybody else. That is often the starting point of developing a low self-esteem.
It might seem so harmless at the time. Stevie might not be doing so well in a certain project at school, and you say to him “Look how well Jimmy is doing in his project”. Eventually it might lead to “Can you imagine Jimmy coming home with these kinds of results?”
You might think you do it to motivate or encourage the child, but it has the exact opposite effect. It does more harm than good. Jimmy might have a natural talent for this particular project. Instead of being encouraged by Jimmy’s wonderful achievements, it becomes a burden and a threat to Stevie. His thoughts are going in the direction of… “I can never be that good…..Jimmy is the main man….I’m just a loser….a real nobody”.
We are not always equally strong in everything we do, but somewhere you’ll find something you are good at. If you were Stevie’s parent, instead of focusing on Jimmy’s strong point and pointing that out, why don’t you rather find Stevie’s strong point which might be in some other area, and point that out to him. If he does feel intimidated by Jimmy, explain to him that this is Jimmy’s strong area, but point out to him that he is the stronger one in some other area, but that he still needs to do his best in this particular area too due to whatever reason….eg. exams for school.
The same goes for us in adulthood. Maybe you grew up with this feeling of always being second best. Maybe you feel you are doing fine but you know you can do better. Whatever the reason for this attitude or feelings, whether you feel you grew up in the shadow of a brother or a sister, or if you were constantly compared to someone else, you do not have to accept that because it is not true.
I want to urge you to find your strong point/s, start believing in yourself and develop it. But don’t try to do it all alone. Accept the encouragement of people who would support you. That makes the journey so much easier and enjoyable.
We often hear that we should keep the company of successful people if we want to become successful ourselves. Find a successful person and use him or her as a role model, by imitating their actions to become successful.
That is true, and I strongly recommend you to follow that advice. But, remain yourself in the process.
You Are Not A Copy.
The whole idea is to first find what your natural interests are. What do you enjoy doing? What is of interest to you? If you have already been paying attention to this, you might already be good at it, but still want to improve and become even better.
Find someone who is an expert or a champion in what you do and use that person as a role model.
The secret is this; study his or her actions. If it involves business, what strategies are being used? How does he communicate with people? What methods are being used for planning and productivity?
If it is in some sports activity, what training programs is this person following? How does he or she execute certain moves?
It’s all about activities and how certain things get done and then for you to learn how to do the same to become better in what you do. It is not studying his or her personality and to become a second Donald Trump or Michael Schumacher.
Be the best you that you can be. Be the person God has made you to be. You are not a copy. You have a purpose. Find it and fulfill it.
The One Thing You Need To Do
Let’s think about some successful people for a moment and look at only one thing that contributed to their success. One thing that I think often gets overlooked because nobody ever thought it’s important. Yet, I think it’s of cardinal importance even if it came so natural for these people that they never even gave a conscious thought to it themselves.
What is that one thing? Besides their natural talent, the hard work and the dedication: They remained themselves. They never tried to be someone else.
Call it self-confidence or call it whatever you want, but that is what makes them stand out.
You won’t see Donald Trump trying to act like Bill Gates. Why should you do it?
The average person compares himself with others, but we as Christians should always compare ourselves with the person God has called us to be. – John L. Mason.
Keep The Right Company.
Once you know what you want to do and you have a good role model who you can follow to see how to do it (and preferably have someone like a coach for personal advice); you now need to keep the right company as well.
There is no sense for you to be as positive as can be, just to get de-motivated and run down by negative people, giving you a million and one reasons why you will fail and why you just need to accept it. That’s plain silly.
Someone once said “show me the company you keep and I’ll tell you where you’ll be in five years’ time.”
There Is Still Time
If you are still breathing, there is still time. Your job is not done. It’s up to you now.
Did you have some set-backs? Do you feel you that grew up in the shadow of someone else? Do you have the courage to come out now, and become the best you that you can be. Are you willing to become the best you that God created you to be?
What advice can you give to people who do have this problem?
I look forward to hearing from you?