Why Compare Ourselves to Others?

Compare and Despair

One of the worst things that we can do is compare ourselves to others. I like to call that “compare and despair.”

When we start to compare ourselves to others, we are seldom comparing ourselves to someone who is doing worse. We seem to always compare ourselves to someone who is doing better. Comparing ourselves to others is a losing proposition. Because we are generally in the compare and despair mindset when we do it. We are looking at our shortcomings and not our accomplishments.

My Beginning to Their Middle

To make matters worse we tend to compare ourselves to people who have more experience than we do in whatever field it is. I know when I first started to practice law, I would look at some lawyer who had a more successful practice than I did and wonder why. Well, part of the answer was that he or she had been in practice longer than I had. It was perfectly okay that they were doing better at that stage of my practice. They had more experience. They had more time to develop a client base. There was nothing magical about them.

Break The Habit

Thankfully I got over that miserable habit by the time I became a coach.

Rather than putting your focus on how poorly you think you are doing, why not put your focus on what it is you have accomplished? In other words, don’t focus on the problem, focus on the progress.

You Are In a Slump

Most of the time we start to compare ourselves to others when we are in a slump. If things are going well, we really don’t have time to start comparing ourselves to others. Why would we? We are doing well, and we are putting our focus on the progress. When things start to slow down our minds start to despair, and we begin to shift our focus to what is not working. And then we start comparing ourselves to others. We are comparing our beginning to someone else’s middle.

Life really isn’t a competition with others. It is a competition with ourselves. Learn to focus your attention on your strengths and not your weaknesses. Focus on your progress, not your problems. And avoid the compare and despair syndrome.