15 Aug Why comparing yourself to others can be dangerous
Comparing yourself to others is a reliable way to reduce your confidence, motivation, and self-esteem. It must be natural to make these types of comparisons, because nearly everyone does it. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good move.
If you want to become the best possible you, avoid comparing yourself to others.
There are several challenges that occur when you compare yourself to someone else:
- Everyone has a different starting point. You might be just learning to swim, but your friend has been swimming for 10 years. You might be interested in starting a side-hustle business, but you’re currently short on capital or investors, unlike your colleague who has family funding her project.
- You can’t compare progress, results, or success unless the starting points are the same, and they never are.
- Everyone has a different level of talent. Some people are born with a high IQ (intellectual quotient). Some people naturally have amazing hand-eye coordination. Others have a natural knack for design or languages. Again, different starting points.
- The resources available to you and another person are different. If you want to learn a new language and your mother is a polyglot you have a huge advantage over someone born into a family that speaks only one language.
- We tend to compare ourselves to the best in the world. We don’t compare ourselves to the average. We compare ourselves to the best the world has to offer.
- There’s always someone better. There are only a handful of people that can make a reasonable claim to be the best at anything. There are nearly eight billion people in the world. That’s a lot of people you must surpass to be the best!
It’s easy to see why making comparisons can be dangerous. There’s little to gain and too much risk. Comparing yourself to others doesn’t provide useful information. You’re only going to upset yourself, and that type of comparison isn’t fair in the first place.
Here’s what you can do instead:
- Compare yourself to yourself. A better option is to compare yourself to yourself. Pay attention to your progress over time. Notice your improvement. As long as you’re making headway, you have a good reason to be excited! Strive to become better each day.
- Limit your exposure to social media. In theory, social media exists to connect people. In actuality, social media is often used as a way of showing off.
- You rarely get the real story. What you get is someone’s best attempt to make their life look better than it really is. Everyone, except you, seems to be living a spectacular life. It’s not true.
- Be cautious with social media. Most people report being happier when they removed social media from their lives.
- Use the success of others as inspiration. The success of others can be useful to you. You can study how they became so successful. Their success can inspire you to become the best you can be. Just avoid comparing your success to theirs.
Do you compare yourself to others? Making this type of comparison can be detrimental to your confidence and self-esteem. Instead, compare your current version of yourself to the version of yourself from three months ago. That’s a fair comparison to make. It becomes easy to see your progress or lack of progress.
The best comparison you can make is to your past self. Set a few goals and spend some time each day working on those goals. You’ll be happy when you see the progress you’ve made.