I’m fascinated by the question what separates great people from simply good people. One theory I have is how a great person interacts with people more successful them him/her.
If you’re always comparing yourself to others in an apples-to-apples way, you can always feel inferior.
If I want to, I can look around each day and discover:
1. Someone is running a more successful business
2. Someone is dating a prettier woman/man
3. Someone is more famous than me
4. Someone has done more at an earlier age than you – my friend David is starting his PhD at MIT at age 14 and I have several other younger friends who are doing amazing things.
5. Someone will sell way, way more books than I will
6. Someone has more blog readers than I do
There are two ways I can respond to this. One is to feel envy, jealously, resentment, and drag my own self-worth down. I’ve met people who respond this way to me at any successes I’ve had. The other response is to encourage their successes, help them be all they can be, and realize that as you help them you are helping yourself. These people tend to be self-confident and fun.
Finding the balance between comparing yourself just enough to find competitive motivation versus comparing yourself all the time to feel inferior (or, superior) is difficult. Great people do it well. I’m trying to do this better.