While it’s great to be surrounded by successful people in the workplace, sometimes it can be just as intimidating as it is inspiring. I am the type of person who tends to compare themselves to everyone else. It’s a really terrible way to be, and it leads to jealousy and insecurity, which are two really ugly things to be.
After a lot of thought (I’m good at that), I realised that if I really have to be comparing myself to anyone, it should be to a younger version of me. That way, I will come to recognise just how much I have achieved, instead of resenting what I haven’t yet achieved (or maybe never will). It also serves as a motivational tool.
I bring this up now because I have just finished my first notebook of my PhD. I’m a big fan of notebooks, and the thought of having a bookshelf full of battered, crinkly paged notebooks containing my major thought processes, plans and ideas is a really nifty one. I work well from brain storms and diagrams, and a scientific paper makes no sense to me until I have scribbled a few pages about it. Hence I have been filling up those pages pretty quickly.
Here is me, stopping to recognise that, four months into my PhD, I have made a notebook-worth of ideas, plans, readings and…progress. While later stages of these timeline-of-me-comparisons may include publications, conference abstracts, promotions, projects etc. , this is all I have right now, and that’s fine with me. The four-month-younger version of me didn’t even have that.