Your Own Game

May 4, 2021
Steven McCormack
2 mins
Follow the Feeling

Jumping on this one whilst I feel inspired. I hate to admit it, but I'm in a ferocious battle with comparison. It chips away at you on so many different levels. Financial comparison. Personal comparison. Career comparison. Company comparison. Weather comparison even (I'm Scottish). At times I just can't help but cast a gaze at my fellow human beings and think 'shiiiiiiit. You are so god damn ahead of me'. It reflects the double edged sword of curiosity; at once liberating and fear inducing.

And of course there's the drumbeat of social media to amplify your emotions. Take Twitter. I love Twitter. I really bloody love Twitter. But when I see folks killing it in their respective endeavours, I'll occasionally clam up. I'll lose focus on my own journey and get impatient. My mind races; I want those followers. I need that engagement. Why am I so far behind in life?!

Now let me clarify here; I know those thoughts, whilst powerful, are pretty useless. I'll soon put the phone down, take a walk around and compose myself. I also know that a platform like Twitter is designed for intensity. It invites my brain to overreact, which is does like a seasoned pro. So why do I bother with the aggravation? Why don't I just avoid social media altogether and live in ignorant bliss? Because then I'd miss out on a valuable lesson. Let's walk, friends.

Look Under the Hood

Explore those feels further and there are lessons to be found. Zoom out and dial down the overreaction. First of all, this ain't envy. Hell no. What I am witnessing is an undercurrent of digital freedom, whether its Twitter Gurus, Twitch stars, Crypto squillionaires, you name it. It is an incredible contrast to the doom and gloom on television, increasingly an artefact of the 20th century. Instead my brain is trying to process the New World it is navigating. Like a WFH Christopher Columbus.

Careers were once limited (to varying degrees) by geography, credentials and our local network. But now we have an entire universe at our fingertips. We can be anything. This liberation is delicious. But it creates a whole new set of challenges. With digital freedom, we no longer seek permission or prior training. We can just pitch up, create and sell. We can build, try, fail, iterate and improve. Instead our burden is internal. Who do we choose to be?

Your Own Game

In this era, our limitations are our motivations. What gets us out of bed in the morning? It is different to what we consciously, actively, think we are passionate about. 'Passion' can be manipulated by all sorts of conditioning and cultural fashions. This is a whole lot deeper, friends; what actually fires our neurons? What gives us energy and settles the monkey mind? For me, I believe it is writing. Connecting with others. Forging relationships. Building a community. You may be at peace coding or creating systems? The best part is you wont really know until you try. The New World lets you do that. But it demands action.

And hence the battle with comparison. It can be damn scary at first. Especially so if, like moi, you were well down a traditional career path. It takes time to unlearn and shed prior labels. It takes time to build confidence in yourself. Whenever I feel unsure about where I'm going, I enter doom scrolling purgatory. I ask the same questions. Am I property guy? A website guy? A business guy? Who am I?

So let me repeat my process; I zoom out, catch my breath, and then realise (again) the link between all these things; writing, speaking and thinking. That is my thing. That is where I find my flow. It is what gives me peace.

So take comparison as a check measure. Have a look over your shoulder, take a peep. Why not? We'll always wonder what others are doing. Because when you settle on (and act upon) what really stimulates you, the comparison will just melt away. The emotion withers. And you'll continue the journey.

Signing out, Steven.

Photo by Dietmar Becker on Unsplash.


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