“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.”
‘Julie’s got a great job, look how well she has done for herself’
‘Sanjay is so smart. I wish I’d applied myself to my studies like he has’
‘Isabel has done really well for herself – just look at that great house and the holidays she goes on’
‘Marco and Tina have the perfect family life. I’m so jealous’
‘Brian’s so ballsy. Just look at how he reinvented himself and started that business of his’
‘Emma is so organised. I wish had the kind of work-life balance she’s achieved’
Comparing yourself to others is drilled into us from childhood and school. But it’s completely misplaced and irrelevant.
Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Everyone has different objectives
We all have a different definition of success based on our own needs and outlook.
We consequently have different objectives and priorities. So it’s futile comparing your results to those of others who almost always define success differently to you.
2. Most people aren’t doing quite as well as you think they are
Most people put their best foot forward and so we only ever see the best of them in public (rather than what’s really going on).
But when you get closer to people and get to know the real person, you realise that Emma isn’t as organised as she seems , that Marco and Tina’s life is far from perfect and that Isabel’s great lifestyle is courtesy of her credit card company.
Everyone has problems – they’re just different ones to yours. So by comparing your true self (with all your shortcomings and insecurities) to the best version of others – you’re making false assumptions about yourself and how you’re doing.
And in doing so, you damage your confidence and ability to realise your potential.
3. You’re only competing with yourself
If you’ve ever run a marathon, a 10km race or even taken part in a charity walk, you’ll know that the only person you’re ever competing against is YOU.
You’re competing against your personal best and true potential – NOT the rest of the runners or walkers. And that is exactly what you should be doing in your career:
a) Judge yourself against past performance (i.e. are you improving and growing?)
b) Judge how well your career and life stack up to your true potential (i.e. how well are you doing at being the real you?)
Comparing yourself to others is a complete waste of mental energy.
It inflates your view of the outside world, under values your own achievements and kills your self-esteem.
Don’t do it.