Think of Others As Better
What’s the best part of accomplishing a goal? Is it the satisfied feeling of working hard and achieving the payoff? How about reaping a reward that that goal earns you? Might it be the inherent challenge to tackle a new, grander goal now that you know what you’re capable of? All of these are awesome results of reaching our goals, and we all likely gravitate to one more than the others based on our personalities. I mean, the best part of accomplishing a goal is a subjective matter, after all. For me, as much as I love the adrenaline rush, the self-gratification, and the potential earnings that come from hard work and success, my favorite part of accomplishing anything is sharing it with other people. The way I see it, a victory without anyone to share it with is no victory at all.
Not only is it important for me to be able to share my own victories with the people in my life, but I’m also learning more and more what a gift it is to share in their victories as well. When family, friends, or colleagues are accomplishing their goals and finding success, it can be so easy to grow green with envy, particularly in seasons when your own progress seems to be stagnant. When left unchecked, that jealousy can transform faster than Optimus Prime in heated combat with Decepticons into deeper feelings of resentment and self-pity. And when we get sucked into the mire of that kind of mindset, what little momentum we have comes to a screeching halt.
On the flip side, when you choose to acknowledge and encourage others as they achieve their goals, you help increase their self-confidence, help them feel validated in their pursuits, and motivate them to greater levels of success in the future. Not only that, but that kind of behavior also directly benefits your own mental health and well-being, too. Being kind to others is shown to reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem, and happiness. The benefits of a kind or helpful act often last long after the act itself, both for those offering and receiving kindness. I’m not saying the driving force behind celebrating other people ought to be what we get out of it ourselves, but it’s certainly an added bonus.
My wife is currently undertaking the daunting task of pursuing her undergrad degree online. Full-time. As a wife. And a mother. I’m pretty sure she’s some kind of superhero. Anyway, in order for her to succeed in her studies, our whole family needed to make adjustments to how we approach day-to-day life. Our daughter needed (and oftentimes still needs) to learn how to be respectful of Mama’s space and time during afternoon school hours. Her lack of availability during the morning hours means that I’ve needed to take on more homemaking responsibilities like keeping up on dishes and laundry and preparing a few meals throughout the week. On the days when I’m tired or frustrated because I’m not making progress on my own goals, it would be so easy for me to blame my wife for lost time and focus. That would also be completely unfair and entirely inaccurate, but, sadly, logic doesn’t often accompany dark moods. I’m certainly not perfect, but I’m happy to report I usually swing the other direction when those thoughts creep in. Instead of trying to shift blame and wallow in defeatism, I focus on my wife’s successes and all she’s accomplishing in her studies. When she aces a test, I celebrate with her. When a challenging concept finally clicks in her mind, I try to engage with interest as she shares it with me over lunch. And when she’s having a hard time and feels totally overwhelmed, I do my best to remind her of how far she’s come and how awesome she is.
On the voiceover side of things, I recently saw a Tweet from a fellow VO talent excitedly sharing how he was cast for a role in an indie video game. Scrolling through the post, I realized that this was a role I had also auditioned for and had really hoped to land. Instead of retreating into that place of feeling sorry for myself or berating myself as a talentless fraud who will never amount to anything (yeah, I can be a bit dramatic at times), I chose to reply with a quick word of congratulations to this colleague, expressing my hopes that he has a blast bringing that character to life.
In either context, personal or professional, I find when I choose encouragement and celebration, even when it’s hard in the moment, I come out feeling so much more hopeful and energized to keep on chipping away at my own dreams and desires. When we see others accomplishing their goals it can make us feel inadequate, or it can inspire us to continue striving to be the best we can be. We get to choose.
In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul writes, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others” (2:3-4). Regardless of one’s beliefs regarding Christianity and the Bible, I think this is incredibly sound advice. When we build our lives on the principle of putting others first, we surprisingly find ourselves coming out further ahead than if we simply look out for our own needs, hopes, and dreams. When we pour into others, they are more likely to pour back into us in turn. When you give a little, you get a little, as they say (whoever “they” are).
Do you enjoy sharing in the achievements of others? What are some ways you practice seeing others as better than yourself? Is this a new concept for you? I may just be some random guy on the internet, but no matter where you’re at on your journey, whether you’re crushing your goals or you feel like they’re crushing you, know that I believe in you, and I’d love to celebrate your victories with you as they come along. Because you’re great. Truly.
Until next time, friends, keep telling stories.
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