Have you ever stopped to think about how often you compare yourself to others?
The Internet. Networking events. Magazine articles. Neighborhood gatherings. There are loads of places to learn about what people are doing and how they’re doing it. You can glean information and learn about new ways to make improvements in every area of your work life or personal life. There’s a ton of information out there. Some of it is earth shattering. Some of it is mediocre. Some of it is lousy. Some of it is free. Some of it is for a price. No matter what kind of information you want to consume, it’s quite literally at your fingertips.
With this abundance of information sometimes comes the tendency to compare yourself to others.
While it’s always helpful to learn from others, it can be detrimental to compare yourself to others.
We all have different:
Definitions of happiness
I can’t tell you the number of times that a client has said, “Well, so-and-so does this and so-and-so does that, but I just can’t seem to do it the way that they do.” The clients get down on themselves and consider themselves failures because they can’t meet so-and-so’s standards. And then they give up.
If you want to compare yourself to someone else, first list a description of yourself in each of the above “difference categories.” Don’t move to the next step until you’ve completed this one. If you have trouble completing this one, then spend time doing a little self-discovery and introspection to find out more about yourself. It’ll be worth it – because it’ll help you discover how you tick and what the best methods for moving forward will be.
Once you’ve completed this step, then you can begin the comparison by first researching “that someone” else’s information in the list of “difference categories” above. If you and that someone else are exactly the same in every single category, then proceed with comparing performance levels.
If you are not exactly the same in every single category, then you are not comparing the proverbial apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Instead, you’re comparing gorillas to cars and jeans to tropical islands. Those comparisons don’t make sense, right? Precisely. Just like comparing yourself to someone who’s not exactly like you, doesn’t make sense either. In the end, the skewed comparisons simply bog you down mentally, crush your motivation and kill your productivity. No bueno. So stop it. Compare yourself only to…yourself.