Ever scroll through social media and feel like everyone’s winning except you? I know that surreal feeling of watching time and your peers fly by. They’re getting married, having kids, leaving the country – achieving all the “adulting” milestones.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m genuinely thrilled for them (whether they are my friends or strangers on the internet)! But yeah, sometimes amidst the confetti, a tiny voice whispers, “What about you?”.
The truth is, brushing off that feeling isn’t always a breeze. But I’ve discovered a surprisingly simple way to stay centred and happy about my own unique journey, and I’m excited to share it with you.
Why You Feel Like You’re Falling Behind
It is normal to feel like you’re falling behind in your 20s or 30s. But that doesn’t mean you’re falling behind in life. Your life doesn’t suck. Your journey is just different. Besides, the world – knowledge, technology, and culture – has just been expanding and evolving rapidly.
But, while all these might be a bit jarring and disheartening, it’s not necessarily negative.
In the past, a degree sufficed for professional success. Then, computer literacy took precedence, followed by the ability to communicate with machines, be it as an SEO writer, programmer, or designer.
Recently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) entered the scene with so much intensity that it disrupted the (digital) landscapes, so much so that most writers, designers, and programmers are finding themselves on shaky grounds. (And, those who lack basic computer knowledge are buried deeper in the dark).
It has also become harder to be useful to society because there is just a lot you must know to be any good. It’s not enough to go to the university. You have to pay for advanced courses, buy powerful computers, and practise for years, whilst integrating new AI into your workflow to stay relevant.
In the near future, despite all these efforts, our children will be utilising technologies so advanced they look at our tech struggles as we do our parents’ struggles with basic typing.
But, keep in mind that I’ve only spoken about work/tech. Think about the evolution of culture and knowledge.
In the past, polygamy was the default (even my grandma was one wife amongst many). Today, it’s hardly conceivable that a man will marry more than one wife (at least, for most of the world).
Women now hold leadership positions, adults now generally wait longer before getting married (because of education and financial instability), and the Pope recently endorsed the blessing of same-sex couples (because, you know, God welcomes all).
The world is changing drastically. The world is rocketing forward and will jettison anyone who doesn’t adapt.
If you’re stuck with a patriarchal mindset, hate technology, or dislike the LGBTQ+ community, you may find yourself feeling left behind in this brave new world.
In simple terms, that feeling of falling behind is an indicator that you need to evolve. But, don’t think evolving means trying to do, be, or get more. (That will only lead to more failure and misery).
Why Is It Becoming Harder To Be Content Despite The Advancement of The World
At its core, that feeling of falling behind is a feeling of dissatisfaction with one’s life. It is often born out of comparison. And, in a world where there is always something better to compare with, satisfaction and contentment are thinning out.
Even though the advancement is good, it doesn’t feel so. It brings as much anxiety as excitement. This is because the abundance of choices and possibilities overwhelms us, making it difficult to control or commit to anything hence the lack of lasting satisfaction.
So, what’s the solution?
Isn’t it obvious?
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How To Stop Feeling Left Behind – Like You’re Falling Behind In Life
To stop feeling like you’re falling behind, focus on less. Don’t stretch yourself thin trying to be at the top of everything. It’s impossible. Even Elon Musk is not winning at everything!
Zero in on a specific facet of society and stay razor-sharp in that arena. And, don’t try to follow every trend that springs up. Not everything is for you. For example, I’m not bothered about the latest rocket tech or medical breakthroughs. I’m not aiming to be a know-it-all genius.
I’m also not folding my arms allowing the world to leave me behind.
I’m diving deep(er) into writing SEO content for self-help and personal development. I’ll only delve into things that keep me at the top of the writing game; gladly remaining clueless about the rest.
On the issue of contentment, I’ll practise more gratitude and seek less – no new phone or stuff just because it’s the latest trend. I will seek only useful things. And I’ll do it patiently.
Culturally, I’ll ride the wave of change without getting drowned in matters that don’t affect me. For instance, I think it’s good that the Pope doesn’t discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community, but I don’t have to turn gay.
Remember, not everything is about you, nor should you get involved with it. Like Mark Manson often says, “You only get a limited number of fucks to give over your lifetime, so you must spend them with care.”
Conclusion: To Get Ahead, Focus On Less
[My Sister] recently got her PhD in mathematics for her work in triple-product-free sets. Now, I don’t know what that is, but I do know that it is a very niche aspect of maths that hardly any institution does in Nigeria (hence she had to travel out of the country for that). There were a billion things to attempt, but she focused on that little mathematical problem, found a breakthrough, and added to the body of knowledge in maths.
If you’re feeling left behind, perhaps it’s because you’re taking on too much – you’re trying to have and be too many things at once.
As the year draws to a close, don’t start next year with broad goals. Rather, find a specific aspect of your life you want to see progress. And, be clear on the few things you’d do to accomplish it. Then relentlessly do that till the end of 2024.
Did you enjoy this content or have some questions? Please let us know in the comments section.
Below are some other content you might find interesting;
- 7 Practical Steps To Overcome Envy and Achieve Your Success
- The True Meaning of Patience:
- The Power of Acceptance: How To Change Your Circumstances By Embracing Them
- The Habit of Humility: How To Be Humble Without Selling Yourself Short
- What Do You Truly Deserve? [And How To Get It]
I enjoy writing long-form SEO content for self-help and personal development blogs. I can also do simple graphics design and copywriting. I’m an author, coach, logician, introvert, and storyteller. I love simplicity.