For many people comparing their lives with others’ is the only reliable way to estimate how well they’re doing and how successful they are. Sometimes we see and recognize ourselves only in the context of other people’s achievements. Or at least, for the majority of us that’s the only way, depending on how we learned to do that when we were kids.
This kind of comparison is useful to some extent, since it helps us stay on track of the direction we’re going. Watching people in our circle we always have someone we slightly (or not so slightly) envy. And any envy is a pointer. If you envy somebody, if you tighten up or experience resentment deep inside, it means you want to be like them.
But there’s a problem. We don’t realize that this approach is not a source of motivation and awareness. It’s a sure way to neurosis.
There’s always going to be someone who’s more successful and lucky than you. Especially now, when social media is saturated with “here’s my picture perfect life” posts and everyone wants to appear successful, unique and beyond happy. And then, following other people’s “amazing” lives, after a while that person starts finding him/herself hugely irritated not just by faces on those pictures, but even by themselves. What are the chances that that person can maintain a strong healthy self-esteem when their life is not quite (yet) just as shiny and pretty? That’s my first point.
Second-the way we see other’s achievements is not always objective and even adequate. Being carried away by losing that comparison contest, you’ll start seeing winner’s advantages even where there aren’t any. And this can make you feel absolutely useless, therefore “why even try?”.
Eventually that comparer can just get stuck where he/she’s at always having an “objective” explanation for their failure like “people around me are just more talented, smarter, better-looking and luckier than me”. And, believe me, it happens way more often than you think.
Usually, a person would develop 2-3 complexes that slow down their success and make their life harder, but not to the point where they realize that they need to change their approach. They have no idea, that the real reason is not their shortcomings, but their approach.
In such case benefits of comparison don’t apply, because gained complexes quickly turn envy into a full blown jealousy. The only kind of people resistant to it is strong-minded individuals that are able to use that comparison constructively and rationally.
So what should we do? The strategy is probably well-known to you:
All the successful and accomplished people only compare themselves to…themselves.
All the famous (and not so famous) achievers stand out by walking down their life timeline constantly glancing behind to compare their present self with the past. They analyze, make necessary adjustments and move forward. They see clearly where they were a month or a year ago, where they are now, where they want to be and how to get there. Others serve them as useful pointers “That’s what I want!”, BUT their success merit-is only their own progress.
Now I want you to grab a piece of paper and write down 5 things you do better than you did a month ago. It can be something small like “making chili”, “more push-ups”, “expanded vocabulary in Italian”. Or it can be something bigger like:
more intensive workouts
Increased discipline and stress-resistance
more positive attitude etc.
If nothing comes to mind-improvise! What you would like to improve? Or write down what is it that you do better than 2-3 months, a week ago. You get the point.
Do this check up regularly: once a week, month, year-different for everybody. It’s important to monitor “What do I do better today than I did … ago?”.
Start doing that and I guarantee that you’ll get:
a higher level of awareness;
more substantial results:
higher dopamine level;
evidence of accomplishment and success (even on a smaller scale in the beginning)-that is very important for your mindset.
Doing this exercise your brain, which is essentially a key element for your success, will get used to ACHIEVE. You’ll begin installing a champion mode into your head, and that will inevit ably lead you to the top.
Success always comes from success.
Your brain doesn’t care how significant that win is-whether it’s buying a chateaux in Provence or being able to run a 5k 10 seconds faster than 3 months ago. It will perceive both achievements pretty much the same, and since the second one is so much easier to reach-why not use that mind hack?
Collect all the small and big wins you can, practice winner mentality and remember: the only true success merit is you and your own progress!