JUNE 17, 2021

“Stay in your lane. Comparison kills creativity and joy.

—Brene Brown

“Your friend scored full marks in Science! Why did you only get 93?”

“He has the new iPhone. Maybe you should get one too. Otherwise, you’ll look cheap.”

“She’s been the employee of the month for three months straight! I don’t even know if I can be that good.”

“Entrepreneurs hustle! I can’t sleep at 11 tonight, and I’ll also have to back out of the family weekend at the lake.”

Can you relate to these statements? Can you recall the moments when you compared yourself, your work, or your efforts to your colleagues, role models, or even your neighbor? 

Comparison is dangerous. It can make you feel demotivated, uninspired, and even worthless. 

You don’t have to choose this path to measure progress or success. Your success and identity are unique to you, which no one else can define. 

There is a better way out, and it surely isn’t comparison!

What’s Comparison?

We can continue blabbering about “How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others” for hours on end. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to waste too much time. By spending just a few minutes to understand what comparison is and how it works, you’ll save yourself several hours. 

As simple as it may sound, comparison is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to demotivate yourself, stifle your progress, or boost your ego. 

Sounds cool, right?

It is indeed very cool and trendy because many of our thoughts surround comparison. Our world has turned into a competition of who’s ahead and who isn’t. In whatever we do, we play zero-sum games that begin with our schools and families. 

If your friend is a class topper, it means that you cannot be a class topper. Thus, he is better than you.

If your parents praise you and show off how you study more than your cousin, you assume that you are better than her. 

If someone in your high school gets the most expensive iPhone while you still use a regular phone, you believe that person to be richer than you. 

Because of how frequently we compare ourselves with others, it becomes a natural habit and system. It gets really trendy.

We don’t always have to jump on the bandwagon. We can get off of it and enjoy a better journey. But why even bother to do that?

Why do You Compare Yourself with Others?

As time goes by, many cultural habits and beliefs continue down many generations, but the reason behind them is completely lost. 

It is the same with comparison.

Imagine yourself being a hunter-gatherer twenty thousand years ago. You have access to no internet, no special knowledge, no cars, no books, nothing. All you have is your tribe and your hunting stick. It will be extremely risky to go to a faraway land to see if you can hunt more food and succeed. You just don’t know if anything similar has happened or ever will. Thus, you look towards your only source of information – your tribe – and compare their actions and thoughts with yours. That’s when you realize that exploring some other place is not right as no one else is doing it. That’s social proof, and that’s what comparison helps us understand. 

When we had no access to information many thousand years ago, we may have developed the trait of comparison to weigh our actions and decisions against what was socially accepted and see if it was viable or not. 

Today, we don’t need this sense of comparison anymore. With books, the internet, access to transportation, and democratic, free nations, we can do anything we want, however we want. (As long as it is lawful.)

We don’t need to check with people in our neighborhood or city before doing something. We don’t need to know the latest fad in our school and go bonkers with it. We have all that we need to carve out a path for ourselves, no matter how unconventional it may seem to others. And we don’t need to compare our progress with someone else’s because we are all on different paths and are taking different journeys to success. 

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others?

It can be difficult to let go of this deeply ingrained habit, but understand this:

If you were born in the same house and family as someone else, raised in the same city, had gone to the same school, studied in the same college, had the exact same job and experienced precisely the same things, and still ended up differently or behind somebody, that’s when you need to compare.

Otherwise, comparison is as unnecessary as a second “Backspace” key on your keyboard. 

That’s how you stop comparing yourself to others – by keeping this perspective in mind, respecting your unique circumstances, and finding your way through. 

Comparison must not be confused with inspiration. By making someone a role model or looking up to them, you aspire to be where they are and achieve success in that specific field.

However, that does not mean that you need to follow the exact path they followed and compare your progress to decide if you are a failure or success. Comparison and inspiration differ a great deal from each other. 

Comparison won’t lead you anywhere. Inspiration can lead you to places beyond your imagination!

Which side will you choose? Let me know in the comments below!

Partnering in your success, happiness, and growth,