Have you compared yourself to others today?
Have you compared yourself to others today? Are you guilty of social comparison? Do you incessantly compare your progress to that of others?
When other people get the promotion, the new car, the awesome vacation, win the seemingly “perfect” spouse, how does that make you feel? Do you cheer them on and think and say positive things to them? Or, do you secretly harbor envious feelings and say snarky things?
Beware of comparanoia.
When we socially compare, we’re digging deep into the Human Condition. Social comparison is a natural part of being human. We cannot help ourselves. There’s even a great term to describe this action: comparanoia or the act of incessant social comparison. Performing it every once in awhile is normal and natural. Doing it incessantly isn’t, and is potentially harmful to you and your loved ones.
Professional comparison can be a good thing, though. Take sales and marketing. If your company makes the numbers internally public, you get to see where you stand. The few at the top earn their bragging rights on the board. The few at the bottom earn their shame and hopefully strive to do better. Further, those at the bottom of the board can seek out and learn from those at the top of the board. They’d be smart to do so. If this sort of comparison is something you cannot handle personally or professionally due to excess envy or shame, sales may not be the gig for you.
I think it is a good thing that people know where they stand at all times, especially in the workplace. Everyone needs a scoreboard and accountability to it. However, outside of work is where social comparison can get particularly pernicious. We are all guilty of it. It’s a hard thing to deal with. Social comparison can ruin your progress. Thinking he-has-this-why-don’t-I and she-has-this-why-don’t-I are normal thoughts. And they can be eradicated.
We beat social comparison through gratitude. Gratitude not only beats fear. It also beats comparing ourselves to others. When we focus on what we’ve got, what’s right here, right now, and we express gratitude for these things, we have no room for social comparison. Gratitude works. Gratitude solves this difficult, human problem.
How do you face your day? What attitude do you choose each morning?
I tell each person that I encounter that it is an honor and a privilege to do what I get to do every day for a living. I wake up each morning — including the weekends when I still do some work — and think, “I can’t believe I get to do this today.”
It astounds me, really.
It is like rediscovering Wonder each day. How cool is that?!
My profession is exactly like rediscovering Wonder each day.
How many people get to say that? How many people would think I’m crazy to say that? How many people would even get what I mean when I say that?
I get to say that because I choose to say that. I choose my perspective of my profession. Whether positive or negative, we all do. It is on us. There is no one else to blame. We own this perspective.
How many of you travel a lot? Say, 80% of the time for work? What would be your take on traveling 80% of the time? Being gone from home that frequently? Would you like that? Would you hate that? How would you feel about calling Chicago O’Hare International Airport your home away from home because you’re there more frequently than your local Starbucks? As in, you’re there so often that the bartenders know you by name. So do the baristas. So do the good folks working at Burrito Beach.
Is this frequency of travel a bad curse? Or, is it an honor and a privilege to get to do something that so many other people would love to do? That many people say they want to do when they retire and have more time?
It is Perspective. It is a Choice. It is an Attitude. So is social comparison.
Social comparison is a perspective. Social comparison is a choice. Social comparison is an attitude. You don’t have to compare yourself to others professionally or personally. You can choose to opt-out of the social comparison game and play your own game. Play vs. yourself. You vs. You. Your personal goal vs. your personal goal. Your last year vs. your this year.
This is a far more productive game to play. You’re way better at this game, btw. You are a better person because of this game. You win when you play this game.
Like fear, you never completely eradicate social comparison from your life. But you can minimize its effects on your life. You can quiet it and work to silence it further.
Gratitude is the key. Being grateful for what you’ve got wins the day. Being grateful for who you are is the winning strategy. Being grateful for your ambition and what you seek to become and accomplish overwhelms social comparison.
Never limit your ambition for anyone. Ever.
Wild ambition trumps social comparison every time.