“Comparison is the thief of joy,” – Theodore Roosevelt said. Now there’s a smart guy, huh?
Part of the success that you're going to see in life and in business involves how you perceive yourself and how you perceive other people. What a lot of us do, unfortunately, is we compare ourselves to others which is so easy to do isn’t it? As we scroll through our Newsfeeds looking at everybody’s ‘highlight reel’ of their lives, and comparing it to our own.
We don't see the one hour beforehand, where they put everything in a particular place to get that perfect photo, put a filter over the top, and publish it. When it’s published, everyone looks at it, clicks LIKE, comments “stunning”, “gorgeous” “beautiful babe”, and in their heart think, “Oh, if only I could be like you,” or, “Oh, you've got it all together”, “I wish I was more like you”.
A majority of the time we only see people’s highlights reel. I know for myself, I’ve gone to take a selfie and things are happening off screen that doesn’t line up with the photo I’m taking! For instance, the kids are cracking up and you're cracking up. “Can't you see I'm trying to take a photo here?” You smile for the selfie, then it’s back to the drama at hand… “Oh, you guys are just so annoying. Can't you ever behave?”
Stop comparing yourself to peoples' highlights reel. Social media isn't really a place where you put all your dirty laundry out on social media. You have a couple of trusted friends who you take your issues to and confide in, okay? When stuff is going on, you can have a download with them, and they can talk you through it, or smack you out of it, if that's what's required.
When you look at the social media profiles of others, you're also most likely looking at their strengths. Okay, if they're doing podcasts, or whatever they may be really good at it, it that may not be your strength. My kids were having a talk the other day about school, and square pegs and round holes. It was really hilarious! One of them said, “It's a square peg in a round hole.” The other one said, “Depends on how big the hole is.” (I think they've sort of heard a bit of this sort of talk over the years). Then another comeback was, “It's like telling a goldfish to climb a tree.”
Can a goldfish climb a tree? That’s what we do when we compare ourselves with others. We might be a goldfish. The other person might be a monkey. They can climb the tree, but can they swim as good as you? No. When we're comparing, it's often like, “Here's their strengths and, oh, gosh. I can't do that.” By looking at everyone else and what their strengths are, and idolizing those things, instead of celebrating what it is that you're good at, that is just going to rob you.
You go into toxic thinking when you compare yourself with others. When we live a life of comparison you’re poisoning your soul. Toxic thinking will devour you. It will just keep going, and keep going, and keep going, and before you know it, you're consumed with envy. You're consumed with jealousy. And it causes you to be disatisfied with your situation in life. It's just a horrible place to be.
When you have those toxic thoughts against other people's' successes, it's really going to limit yours. That is not something you want in your world.
How do you overcome comparing yourself to others? A lot of us have been going through this ever since we were kids. When our parents might have said to us, “Why can't you be more like your sister?” or your teacher said “Why can’t you be more like Johnny?” – someone who was an authority in your life compared you to someone else, and that started the seeds.
How do we stop comparing ourselves and start celebrating who we are? Here are some ways:
- Be aware. Think about when you scroll through your social media, what thoughts or feelings have been coming up, or be conscious of your thoughts next time. When you become aware, you then acknowledging that you've been doing it, and then commit to stopping those thoughts.
- Acknowledge your strengths. Years ago, I heard someone ask a prominent leader, “What are your weaknesses?” He said, “Oh, I don't know, really. I focus on my strengths.”
A practical example with that, was with my son and his school report card. There were a few subjects that he didn't do so well in. So what do you do? Focus on the subject he didn’t do well in – “Oh, well, you better pay more attention to them and get those grades up.” For me, I was like, “Okay. You did really good in these subjects, so these are the ones that you're really good at. Let's focus on these and get these grades up.”
Instead of pushing a log up a hill sometimes, focus on those things that you are gifted at. Improve them and that is where you are really going to shine. When you keep trying to make things work that aren't designed for you, that's when you're going to get frustrated. That's when you're going to be burnt out and overwhelmed. Focus on those things that you are good at. Focus on your strengths and making them better, and you will be in your sweet spot.
- Celebrate other person's achievements. Instead of turning into a green eyed monster, “Oh, she's lost 10 kilos and I haven't lost any.” Well, celebrate their success. Go, “Wow. That is awesome. I am so happy for you. You so deserved it. You've been working so hard. Good on you. What new outfit are you going to buy? Woohoo!”
Celebrate their success and acknowledge yours, as well. Too often, we're looking at what other people have done. We tend to not acknowledge what we have done or accomplished.
If someone had actually like written up a bio of you that had all the amazing things that you have done, how would you react? Suppose somebody unknowingly created your bio. You would read it and say, “Wow. This person, look at what they've done. Oh, my gosh. Wow. This person's living an amazing life!” Then you discovered it was your bio. “Oh. What? Is that me? No, that's not me.” It is okay to acknowledge your strengths and what you're good at, and what you have accomplished.
I hope that's been of great value and you've got at least one takeaway that you can apply. If there's someone that you know, or you think this has been great, share it out. Spread the word. Let other people know to stop comparing themselves with everyone else's highlight reel and to celebrate their own success.
Quit comparing and why don't you right now, write down five things that you are really good at? Five of your strengths or five things that you're grateful for. Right now. Do it. That's a challenge.