I saw an advertisement for a product called LifeStraw®, and it made me feel worthless.
The product is a “personal water filter,” and all you have to do (according to the Internet) is “place one end…into unfiltered water (a water bottle, river, or even a puddle) and suck clean water through the top of the straw.”
For a few minutes, I felt pretty sorry for myself. The people who invented this thing are incredible, I thought. Compared to what they’ve accomplished, what have I done for the human race?
Yes, a high-tech straw made me question my contribution to the world. Have I done anything to make the world a better place that’s as inventive and useful as the LifeStraw®? I mean, that product could be the difference between life and death for someone living in a place where uncontaminated water is scarce.
Have I or will I do anything as important?
We all have bouts of self-doubt, and it’s alright to want to give back to the world. The problem here is one of comparison. Do you regularly find yourself questioning your own worth compared to what others are doing? Here’s a three-step process you can use to rewire that inferiority complex.
First, remember that you’re not being fair to you when you compare yourself to others. Sure, there’s value in getting motivated by seeing what others have accomplished, but not to the point that it makes you depressed. At that point, you’re paralyzed. You won’t be able to grow, change, and achieve new things.
Second, think about the things you’ve accomplished in life, and focus on your unique set of skills and talents. Don’t get bogged down in how “big” or “small” you think your achievements may be, because that’s just more comparison. Concentrate on what you do well, and use that confidence to break free of self-doubt.
Third, don’t try to avoid feeling inadequate. Just work on changing your reaction to that feeling. Instead of getting down on yourself, replace self-critical thoughts with a new routine of solution-centered thinking. Consider what actions you can take to improve your skills to achieve the abilities of the person to whom you were comparing yourself. Set an achievable series of smaller goals that could lead to your desired result, and get moving!
Many of us get into the bad habit of self-criticism, but it’s never too late to turn your thinking into something more productive.
And yes, I eventually remembered to stop letting that straw feel like I sucked.
Do you spend too much time obsessing about the skills you think you don’t possess or worrying about your legacy? If you can relate to this post, please leave a comment and share how you overcome feelings of inadequacy.
Featured image via eartheasy.com
About the Author
Anthony Simeone is a writer, speaker, personal development activist, and social change warrior with over two decades of experience studying the practical application of literature, philosophy, psychology, and other disciplines. The culmination of his work is the Live the Hero concept, which he offers as a “life path” for use in overcoming daily obstacles. Live the Hero combines the wisdom found in the arts and humanities with the latest discoveries related to modern neuroscience. You can contact Anthony and learn more about his work at livethehero.com.
Theodore Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy” and he was so right.
I’ll take you over a straw any day. Unless it is a bendy straw. Gotta love those bendy straws 🙂