Acting in New York City, it’s hard not to compare our selves to others. We see the successes and failures of those around us and we use what we perceive as a barometer by which to evaluate our own progress and self-worth.
We mostly judge others and our selves without being aware of it. We look around at the people in our world, take in information at face value, and then proceed to create a belief about what we think it means about our selves and them.
We often forget that the belief we just created is not necessarily the truth, but a story we have created based on fear and desire. Therefore, we actually have a choice: we can use this perception for motivation and personal improvement or for self-flagellation and resignation.
Choosing Possibility Over Pain
We are naturally going to judge – it’s our ego’s way of surviving in a world it perceives as threatening. However, once we are aware that we have created a judgment by which we are now evaluating our selves against, we can stop and use our consciousness to direct our thoughts towards possibility rather than pain.
In NY and Los Angeles, many actors face this challenge on a daily basis. They watch their peers auditioning for projects or working on television shows and securing impressive representation along the way. This conjures a feeling of inadequacy, and creates the idea that “there is something wrong” if an actor isn’t auditioning, working, or represented by a major agency. There is suddenly a problem that needs to be fixed in that actor’s life – a deficit that needs to be filled so that they can be “normal” or at least “not behind the curve.”
Unfortunately, this pattern of thought creates a heavy energy in the body and it debilitates rather than motivates any kind of forward motion. The comparison seems like an accurate evaluation, but the effect of this way of thinking is depressing.
Because of the varying degrees of success that surround us in any occupation or lifestyle, success is too subjective to be comparable. Yet, we continue to measure our progress and value against that which we see around us, and we continue to suffer for it.
Here are 7 simple steps to using the drive to compare our progress to others in a healthy way:
1. Be Aware.
Notice the comparison and ask: What am I making this mean about myself?
2. Question the Belief.
We can now ask: Does this meaning I am giving this situation feel good to me or does it make me feel bad about myself in some way?
3. Be Open.
Is this belief 100% true or is there another viewpoint that may be more beneficial?
4. Identify the Positive Intention.
Our next question is: What is this limiting belief about myself trying to show or teach me? For example, when we feel jealous we are actually being shown what it is that we desire. This is the positive intention the negative feeling is offering us. For instance, if an actor feels inadequate because he or she isn’t booking as much work as their peers, rather than making it mean they aren’t good enough, they could simply acknowledge that they desire to increase their rate of bookings and make this their goal.
5. Don’t Make it Wrong.
We remove all judgment by deciding that there is absolutely nothing wrong with our selves and our situations. Everything just is. Let it be – don’t put any sauce on it!
6. Focus and Commit.
Now that we understand what we really want based on what others seem to have, we can focus our thoughts and actions in the direction of that which we desire. We move toward the goal that our comparison showed us that we desire. Referring to the example of the actor in step #4, one action step towards their goal of increasing bookings may be to hire an acting coach who specializes in effective audition technique.
7. Embrace the Success of Others.
When others appear to be progressing at a faster rate, they aren’t making us look bad – they are showing us that it’s possible. They are our proof and help us to clarify our own desires!
These steps allow us to use our minds in a way that empowers us rather than letting our minds hold us back. We can’t help making comparisons, but we can re-write the rules when it comes to how we play with these comparisons.
For more from Jaime Kalman, visit her website.