Rafay Hiraj
5 min readDec 2, 2021


Why do you need to focus on yourself and forget what others are doing?

The modern world is a challenging institute filled with reckless comparison and measurements. At an early age, people are compared to others and this results in us making comparisons subconsciously. Short-term success is valued over long-term heavily and that is certainly not the way to go. Especially not for the late developers.

A study amongst students was conducted. They were told to choose between two hypothetical situations. The first was; they would earn $150,000, as much as their peers. The other said they would earn $220,000 while their peers would earn $250,000 per year. The majority chose the first option. Looking at this from an individualistic perspective it does not make sense. But when you analyze this from a comparative perspective the pieces stick together. People compare themselves with their peers and end up choosing the option that frankly, is stupid. They do this because the second option makes their peers more successful.

But are they more successful? Well, in the short term, yes they are! But in the long term, no one can say.

In the long term, things get balanced. There may be short-term ups and downs, like in stocks. But if you see a stock graph of more than 10 years it won’t show any or as many ups and downs.

Apple’s 5 day stocks is like a rollercoaster
Apple since it began only seems to go up

You might look at this and say, well that’s obvious. IS IT?!

No career planning institute values the long term over the short term. That should be seriously re-considered. With all this, people nowadays reach their teens with lower self-esteem and self-confidence as they are living their lives in constant struggle. They have to consistently look over their shoulder in life. That is not a healthy way to live. Here are some of the reasons why we need to value the long term more than the short term.

  • Career is a vast spectrum. It is a life-long process. What the modern system does is put you set in your ways at a young age (22). If you know what life has for you at 22 you are looking at things the wrong way. People develop at different ages. You can test this, chances are you don’t have the same interests you had 10 years ago.
  • The modern system is like a funnel. People who go with the rest or surrender to the system pass out of the funnel while others are stuck and made to feel inferior. This does not accommodate the people who are destined to reach great heights later as they can not pass through.
  • Specialization is valued over flexibility when the truth is specialization makes you ignore the bigger picture as you have just one concept under the microscope. As the world advances, flexibility is key. Jobs and positions that were available 30 years back are not the same, and with technology pacing faster than ever, the same might be the case in just 5 years.
  • Studies show that the Prefrontal Cortex matures at 30–35 contrary to the previous belief, and if people are judged at younger ages results might be misleading more often than they are not.
  • Being older gives you more wisdom, it teaches you empathy, and improves your executive processes as you learn more things through experiences a younger you would not have known The modern system is not flexible. If operations become automated and doctors become obsolete, what will the newly made doctors do?

Nowadays, the comparison is judge, jury, and executioner. When there is constant comparison, you will feel low when you are behind and feel superior when you are ahead. Thus, people seek instant gratification more so than ever. If you are in a depressed mood, and you open your phone just to see your friends having the time of their life, all smiles you wonder what is wrong with me? Why am I sad? That is not the way to go.

Happiness does not come from good grades but rather the praise that comes along with it. But that happiness is unlikely to last. This is because, at another time, you might not get good grades. So if your happiness depends on that, you need to be ready.

We must find happiness in ourselves and how we do that is by eliminating the fear of what others think. So right now, just ask yourself. If you were on your deathbed today, would you be happy with your life? Ask yourself then, what is it that YOU want in life? What is success for YOU if there is no judgment or pressure whatsoever?

Here are some examples of late successes;

Einstein was 42 when he won the Nobel Prize

JK Rowling was 32 when she sold her first copy of the Goblet of Fire

Stan Lee was 38 when he found success with the Fantastic Four

Ray Kroc was 59 when he purchased McDonald’s outrightly

Samuel L Jackson was 40 when he got his breakout movie role

Henry Ford was 45 when he made the model T

Steve Carrol was 43 when he became famous with the Office

Charles Darwin was 50 when he published his theory at became famous

Stephen Colbert was 41 when he became successful

Judy Dench became famous at 60!

Bryan Cranston was 44 when he starred in Malcolm in the Middle

Jeremy Renner was 38 when he starred in Hurt Locker

Ricky Gervais created Office at 40

Jane Lynch became famous at 49 with Glee

Ken Jeong was 40 when he became a success in comedy

Morgan Freeman was in his late 40s/early 50s when he became successful in acting

Liam Neeson was 41 when he became famous

A study was conducted amongst the education systems of England and Scotland. In England, students were instructed to choose their field of study in their teens and specialize in that ultimately, while in Scotland they were allowed to take various courses in college and try different things. English students gained an early salary headstart over the Scottish because they had a chosen domain and the Scotts were trying out various things. But it was seen, that after the Scotts gained the advantage in about 6 years and had earned more. Moreover, It was seen that the English students had to change their careers. As they were told to choose early on, they made poor career decisions due to inexperience.

It is seen that breadth helps more than depth nowadays more often than not. This is because if you try various things when you finally choose the one you tend to link everything together giving you more knowledge than others. A prime example for this is none other than tennis legend Roger Federer who virtually tried every sport before finally sticking to tennis and the rest is indeed history.

We need to focus on ourselves now. Live peacefully as there is no need to constantly look over our shoulders. When everyone judges others they stop working on themselves and that is not what we should be after. That is how the world will change and improve!



Rafay Hiraj

Self Improvement and Life Lessons