I know it can be easy to compare ourselves to other people, but it's important to remember that you can only be the best version of yourself that you can be. 'YOU ARE A CHAMPION AT BEING YOU'.
Whenever I'm feeling frustrated with the way things are going, this is what I always come back to: WISHING THINGS WERE DIFFERENT WON'T CHANGE ANYTHING, AND THAT TIME YOU SPEND WISHING IS TIME YOU COULD HAVE SPENT CHANGING WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN YOUR CONTROL. You're not in competition with anyone else, so you only need to work on being the best version of yourself that you can be.
All that time I spent on the edge of Hollyhedge Park, even though I was thinking about being someone else, no matter what happened, I couldn't be. I couldn't be my brother with his soccer cleats. I couldn't be a bigger boy with different skills. I couldn't play soccer as much as I wanted. All of that was out of my control. I could only be Marcus, the small skinny kid from around the corner who loves soccer but who sometimes couldn't play.
So in the end, I decided to figure out what WAS in my control and to change what I could. Instead of staring at my brother and his friends from the sidelines, just wishing I could play, I started doing kick-ups, working on my soccer skills, and doing tricks with a little size 1 ball. I DECIDED TO GET USED TO BEING MARCUS AND WORKED ON BEING THE BEST VERSION OF MARCUS I COULD BE WHILE I WAITED FOR ANOTHER TIME I COULD PLAY. And all that time I spent on the sidelines working on my soccer skills ended up being really useful for me now in my career!
ONE OF THE THINGS I LIKE MOST ABOUT SOCCER IS THAT ANYONE, OF ANY SIZE OR ANY WEIGHT, CAN MAKE IT AS A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER IF THEY HAVE THE SKILL AND ARE WILLING TO WORK HARD.
For me growing up, it wasn't about wanting to be someone else so I could play soccer, but working with what I had. There are people playing soccer who might be short but have brilliant agility, so they can turn really fast, which taller people can have problems with. Or there are tall players who are good in the air and do things other players can't.
There's no one set way to be an amazing soccer player. I definitely had heroes growing up—Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Tim Howard to name a few!—and I wanted to be like these other players when I was a kid. But I knew that I could never be exactly like them, and if I'd tried, I wouldn't have ended up being the Marcus Rashford you know today. I HAD TO WORK WITH WHAT LIFE GAVE ME.
THERE ARE GOING TO BE LOADS OF THINGS THAT YOU'LL WANT TO DO IN LIFE—SOME OF THEM YOU'RE GOING TO BE GREAT AT, SOME OF THEM YOU MIGHT''BE LESS GOOD AT. (I'm still not the best swimmer, but I'm working on it!) There are also loads of brilliant things that will happen that you can't possibly predict—there's so much you haven't tried yet that you're going to be amazing at, but you won't find that out until the time comes. There are always new things to learn—your brain is like a sponge that's constantly picking information up from the world around you!—but a good starting place for a lot of life's adventures is learning who you are, learning to be comfortable with that, then deciding what you want to do. When you are true to yourself, the progress you make lasts a lot longer because you're making good decisions that you can repeat again and again.
THERE ARE OVER SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE ON PLANET EARTH.
THAT'S 7,000,000,000 PEOPLE WITH THEIR OWN LIKES, DISLIKES, FAVORITE FOODS, COLORS, FILMS, AND BOOKS ALL GOING ABOUT THEIR LIVES, TRYING TO DO THEIR BEST. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD WHO WILL BE SIMILAR TO YOU, BUT NO ONE OUT THERE IS GOING TO BE EXACTLY LIKE YOU.'TAKE A MOMENT TO LOOK AT YOUR HANDS RIGHT NOW; NO ONE WHO WOKE UP TODAY HAS THE SAME FINGERPRINTS THAT YOU HAVE.
Stick your tongue out. I know it sounds silly, but do it. Blow a big raspberry with it. No one who is going to bed tonight has the same tongue as you. Seriously, tongues are just as unique as fingerprints!
Did blowing a raspberry just now make you smile? Did it make you laugh? No one out there is going to have the exact same laugh as you, either, or laugh at the exact same things that you find funny.
And while all sorts of things might happen that will make you feel differently about your life— your hair color or your favorite film might change, or you might decide one day that the food you used to hate actually tastes really good (it took me a long time to enjoy fish, but traveling has opened my eyes to different foods!)—the person you wake up as is going to have a lot in common with the person you go to bed as.
Even when big things change, that still won't shift who you are. You can move house, or your name might change, but you're still going to be YOU every single day.
It can be a little scary when you think about it, but I think it can be a good scary. There are going to be days when you might wish you were someone else, or you'll wish you were a different version of yourself, or you might want to be "normal" or feel like you fit in better. IT CAN BE REALLY SCARY BEING YOU SOMETIMES BECAUSE NO ONE HAS EVER DONE IT BEFORE. BUT THAT'S OKAY! While people might be similar to you, no one is ever going to be as good at being you as you are—even if they wanted to, and put all their money and talent and time into trying.