November 9, 2019 at 6:05 am #322227
Here is the problem: you were number one in school and college “best student in my school and college”, later you “aced interviews and the related exams”, overall, “a promising beginner” in the race for professional and material success.
Sometime later, the students in your school who lagged behind you are now ahead of you and it is you who is lagging behind in the race for success (“everyone who lagged behind me is so successful”).
As a result of this turn of events, from being Number One to being Number Last (“I always had the advantage and yet I am wasting my life”), you feel shame and hate for yourself and jealousy, envy and hate for others who is ahead of you in the race.
My input this morning: I suppose the story you tell yourself regarding the race for professional and material success is true: you were Number 1 and now you are somewhere in the back of the race, and you are in your twenties, I believe. As it is, it is possible that this will become your life story through your thirties, forties, fifties and on- the once Number 1 who lagged behind forevermore.
I heard older people telling this story. I hope this is not going to be your lifetime story.
If you look at races in the sports competitions, often there is a Number 1 and then that number 1 lags behind. It is not unusual. If Number 1 in the beginning of the race automatically won the race, then the race would be over in the first few seconds. In other words, being the first in the beginning of a race does not guarantee being the first at the end of the race. As a matter of fact, in longer running races, runners lag behind in purpose so to maintain their energy for the long run while those who are first in the beginning get exhausted and lose their energy later, lagging behind.
The race you are in, the race for professional and material success, is not over in reality. Those who are ahead of you now, if you continue the race, may lag behind you later. Because if they get very sick, for example, race is over for them. Or the company for which they work goes under, race is over for some time. And maybe they will not recover from that lagging behind that results for them.
In other words, you being ahead in the race in the beginning, never meant that you owned the race, that you were entitled to always be ahead in it. If you drop the sense of entitlement, and adopt a sense of humility (being one of many who started #1 and then lagged behind), that will help you.
anitaNovember 9, 2019 at 9:58 pm #322287
Your reply is very helpful. Humility is what I need most in life. I have a tendency to want to attain something very quickly and I haven’t patience and perseverance the importance I should have. The sense of entitlement is a major roadblock in my life and I need to work on it.November 10, 2019 at 6:10 am #322319
You are welcome. In the race for professional and material success, it takes academic intelligence, which you have (having been the “best student in my school and college”, and “aced.. the related exams”), and presenting yourself well in interviews, which you have done (“aced interviews”), and it takes some humility and a whole lot of patience and perseverance.
The latter three requirements to do well on a race- you don’t have, or you have way too little of these things. So you see, it is not unexplainable or unfair that you are lagging behind: it is explainable and fair because you don’t have enough of what it takes. There are plenty of young people who lag behind all kinds of races because they “want to attain something very quickly” and they “haven’t patience and perseverance”.
The sense of entitlement feeds the impatience and the anger: oh it’s not fair! I am smarter, I should be at the top. But it takes more than IQ to succeed. As a matter of fact, something is wrong with the IQ of a person to not realize that it takes more than an IQ to succeed in any endeavor.
I have seen highly intelligence people lagging behind professionally; I have seen singers that have the voices and ability of any major internationally known singer who are not famous at all; I have seen the most physically beautiful women trying to get into the movies, more beautiful than very famous movie stars, who didn’t make it beyond an extra role in a movie or two.
In all cases, it takes more than just this or that. It takes a sense of humility, patience and perseverance. Post again anytime and I will be glad to reply to you.
anitaNovember 12, 2019 at 11:49 pm #322725
I agree that it takes a lot more than talent to survive and thrive. It’s same like the tale of hare and a tortoise. I understand the importance of hard work, though most of the time I tend to procrastinate. It’s not that I never work hard. I work hard for things which ultimately have no impact on my future eg. I’ve worked hard on my website development project, though it doesn’t even matter now. I often feel that IveI run out of steam and my best is behind me and things can only go downhill now.November 13, 2019 at 9:17 am #322819
When you feel distressed you view yourself and life in all-or-nothing ways: either you are going up fast or you are going down fast (what about flat ground, or a gentle slope up or down?).
Look at your use of the word always (the all in all-or-nothing thinking) and every time, same as always: “Life has given me many gifts and opportunities, but I always sabotage them.. I am always prone to getting distracted.. I am always distracted by television and books.. Every time I listened to my heart, it backfired”-
-I bet you didn’t always sabotage a gift and an opportunity, that sometimes you didn’t get distracted and that sometimes, when you listened to your heart, it served you well.
Here is your balanced thinking: “I have a tendency to want to attain something very quickly.. most of the time I tend to procrastinate. It’s not that I never work hard”- if it is only a tendency, not an Always, then sometimes you can resist the tendency. If it is not that you never work hard, then you can consider working hard and smart, next time.
The last sentence of your recent post is back to all-or-nothing thinking: “my best is behind me and things can only go downhill now”- why not going flat for a while, not uphill and not downhill?
All or nothing thinking will get you nowhere, it is a distorted kind of thinking because in reality, often, and definitely in your case, reality is not two dimensional: either all (smooth, quick success) or nothing (lifetime failure). In your reality, there is a third dimension: slower, rough success, temporary failure, past and future successes.
November 13, 2019 at 9:05 pm #322945
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by anita.
I am aware of the cognitive distortions in my thinking. Life and growth are not always linear, they have a more circular trajectory. I’m trying to work on acceptance and gratitude. I feel like I’m being too hard and judgemental about myself and my life and I can be more accepting.November 14, 2019 at 11:09 am #322999
I wish you well on your “work on acceptance and gratitude”, on no longer being “hard and judgmental” about yourself, as well as on correcting those cognitive distortions you mentioned. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is about challenging distorted thoughts and correcting them, restating them so that they are true to reality. There are books on the matter. My introduction to CBT was a book and a workbook called “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies” ten years ago.