Rob turned 30 this week. So he did what he always does when he thinks about his age – something we’ll euphemistically refer to as “have a full-on meltdown” about how he hasn’t achieved anything in life and is now too far behind everyone else his age to ever catch up.
“Everyone else his age” turned out to be Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake, and – somewhat worryingly – Beyonce.
As Rob will admit, he doesn’t want the pressure of being the CEO of Facebook – nor does he want the insane scrutiny that comes with being one of the most famous women on the planet (he gets teased enough by Mish about his strangely disproportionate buttock size).
And this is the problem with using other people as a yardstick for your own achievements: you don’t necessarily want their lives or their levels of success.
We’re doing our own thing, writing our own “life script” and having a truly amazing time. But every time we compare ourselves to others and where they are in their lives, we get a bit worried that we’re doing the right thing.
If Mish had gone down the same route as all her old family friends, she’d now be married to a Spurs-obsessed accountant husband who wouldn’t know where the baking trays were kept in their five-bedroom Edgware new-build. She’d spend her days being proud of her children, going shopping for bar mitzvah dresses, and repeating the same mantra without any risk of boredom: “Behind every successful man…”. She’d be a real proper adult, she’d be settled, and she’d be financially secure.
And occasionally, Mish worries that her life is nowhere-fricking-near this sorted. She dresses like a male child, doesn’t even own a baking tray, and has a biological clock that’s forgotten how to tick.
Before Rob started tracking his own progress against the Forbes “30 under 30” list, he’d compare himself to how his school friends were getting on. They all have huge houses up north, stable jobs, kids, male-bonding hobbies like golf and tennis, and cars that go above 70 mph without shaking. And he’d sometimes worry that he was too far behind all these people who’d “made it” and had everything figured out.
But it’s all pointless. Our benchmarks and yardsticks should be based solely on how we want to live our lives and what we consider success to be. We’ve got a long way to go before we achieve all our aims, but if we want to stay on course and enjoy the journey of building up businesses, travelling the world and hanging out 24/7 with our bestest buddies (each other), we can’t get sidetracked by the aims, achievements and lifestyles of others.
So from now on, we’ll be happy for other people’s choices but leave it at that – no more comparisons. Which means the Amazon baking tray can come right off Mish’s birthday wish list.
On the blog this week
- For people who make a big deal of not living anywhere, we sure do have a lot of houses. So because people kept (quite rightly) saying “Hey, what’s up with that?”, we wrote about why property isn’t a totally insane investment for digital nomads.
- Buying glasses is pretty boring. So’s booking a flight. And let’s not even get started on accountancy. Unless, of course, you choose to use a company that finds a fun way of setting itself apart from the competition. They’ve figured out that being different is profitable, and here are a load of ways you can be different just like them.
What we’ve been reading
- We’ve written before about our love of Quora. Answers like this are why.
- We’ve also written before about our own unique methods of getting our emails replied to (teasing with a compliment then insulting the heck out of them – never fails), but Chris Brogan has identified a way that works too.
- Here are some companies that sell really boring stuff in really fun ways (they’ve obviously been reading our advice).
- …And you’ll notice that “ask your customers to discuss their intimate bathroom habits on social networks” isn’t one of them. Andrex might not have had such a disastrous campaign if they’d kept that in mind.
- We’re not Beyonce, you’re not Obama, so don’t think the marketing techniques of megacelebs will work for you. You can, however, start to build your own celebrity until they do.
(You can now view our entire week’s reading list – including a load of extra links we can’t be bothered to write up – at Readlists.com - where you can easily send the entire collection of posts to your Kindle.)
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