Comparison can be helpful for inspiration, or to light a bit of a competitive fire under you. But do it too often and you’ll fall into the comparison trap. These are three common tendencies that can ensnare any of us if we’re not careful.
1. You overly compare yourself with those who are better.
We rarely compare ourselves to those that are doing worse than us. “I’m doing better than the homeless guy on the street!” doesn’t exactly reflect the destiny of greatness inside you. This one is easy.
The tough one: when you take action to excel, you move past the (immature) stage of picking on small fish. You–intentionally!–throw yourself into deeper waters. Deeper waters mean bigger fish! But don’t go back into the small pond, and don’t compare yourself to the big fish. It’s like Bob Dylan said, “All I can do is be me. Whoever that is.”
2. You only compare your worst to someone else’s best.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms bombard us minute-by-minute with the most amazing moments and experiences…of other people. It’s no longer a matter of keeping up with the Joneses. Now it’s keeping up with anyone who is a better photographer than you or whose dinner looks better than yours.
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. – Steven Furtick
We all know real life isn’t an Instagram feed. But it sure is easy to think that way. Even the best have bad days. They probably have more bad days than you think. If you come to enjoy the journey and embrace your own behind-the-scenes, no picture will be able to capture the depth and fullness of your life. And that’s infinitely better than a picture of someone’s lobster dinner.
3. You’ve become insecure & ungrateful.
One of the greatest pieces of advice a leader ever gave me: “Mike, every man’s path is different.” He told me this in response to me asking a question on how he got to where he was. Basically, his response equated to “It doesn’t matter what mine was. You find yours.”
We can always learn from one another’s journeys. But it can also become bait for the comparison trap, making us insecure and ungrateful for the path laid out for us.
For many of my developing years–both personally and professionally–I was looking for someone that had walked the path that I was walking. I never found the guy. That’s when I realized that all those talks I’d heard about “there being only one me” finally made sense. It’s true what Roosevelt said:
Comparison is the thief of joy. – Teddy Roosevelt
So today–as you read your friend’s Facebook posts on how big a TV they scored for Cyber Monday–try not to compare yourself to them. As you look at your business competitors and veer towards unhealthy comparison, save your best energy to make your product or service that much better. If you’re intimidated by the big fish, don’t jump back into the small pond. Climb out of the comparison trap and keep pressing on.
Question: When is it good to compare ourselves with others…and when is it not? Share your thoughts below!
Liked this post? Check out: