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The Pitfalls of Comparing Yourself to Others

I’m sure we can all agree on one thing:

Comparing yourself to others never brings happiness or satisfaction. Quite the contrary, actually. It often brings feelings of dread and inadequacy. And yet we do it. Every day. Comparing your house to the neighbors’. Comparing your car to that of some random person in the parking lot. Comparing your fitness results to those of a pro athlete or model. The problem is, making comparisons can be counter-productive because they shape your belief system. And what you believe can drastically impact your results, effort, motivation, and life as a whole. Today, we’ll go over three simple ideas you can use to stop comparing yourself to others.

First Off, What You See Is Never The Whole Picture

There’s an old proverb that goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” It means that other people’s circumstances seem better or more desirable, but are often not. The fact is, you don’t have all the details because you can’t see the whole picture. What often seems superior may be a mirage. That guy driving a brand new Mercedes? Could be rich, could be buried beneath a mountain of debt. That ripped guy at the gym? Could be genetically blessed to look that way, but it could also be the result of a decade in the gym. The point is, you can never be too sure. So comparing yourself to others and feeling bad about yourself won’t bring you any joy or success.

The Person You’re Comparing Yourself To Could Have Been At It Much Longer Than You

Most people severely underestimate the power of consistency. But, just like gravity, it impacts our lives even if we never stop to think about it. Little by little, efforts (or lack thereof) add up and shape our lives for the better (or worse).

So, here’s a thought:

What if the person you’re comparing yourself to isn’t luckier, better connected, more genetically blessed, or more fortunate? What if they’ve simply been at it longer than you? What if they’ve been more consistent than you? For example, if today’s your first day at the gym and you notice an incredibly fit person there doing twenty pull-ups like it’s nothing, you might think:

“What am I even doing here? I can never do that!”

But remember that this person was a beginner once. And it’s possible that the primary difference between the two of you is nothing more than the time and effort they’ve invested in training.

So, What Can We Do About It?

Honestly, the solution is simple, but not easy:

Focus on yourself.

Sure, it’s tempting to compare yourself to others. After all, we are social creatures, and we have this innate need to understand where we stand in comparison to others. But, I’ve found that focusing on myself (my work, my results, my efforts, and my life as a whole) rather than continually evaluating my ‘performance’ when compared to someone else has made me a happier person. All we can do is try and play our cards to the best of our abilities. Set a schedule for your essential tasks, attack each day with vigor and enthusiasm, and you will feel much better about yourself.

Remember: The easiest way to feel down is to compare yourself to others.

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