Comparison, it’s something we’re exposed to from a young age. You walk around the playground as a teenager, holding cards to trade. Thinking you’ve got a great set, you’re quickly disappointed as your classmate shows you a new, rare card. Quickly, perception of what you’ve got drops.
Even when your teacher is announcing the winners of a contest, something you thought you did well on, they’re making comparisons – probably without even knowing it. Of course, there are times when we get inspiration from watching others excel, fuelling our internal motivation to succeed.
But there’s also danger of comparing yourself. Outside influences can affect what once was a happy, content state of mind. There’s a fine balance between healthy and unhealthy comparisons.
Shining examples & perfectionism.
Have you ever heard the saying don’t compare your back door with someone’s front door? What they mean by this is you can’t compare your life with another person, because you only see the side they want you to see – the perfectly manicured garden. Who’s to say that their backyard isn’t messy and untamed?
This is essentially what we do when we compare ourselves to others. Relying on external comparisons to determine your worth isn’t healthy, nor will it bring your happiness. Perfectionists struggle with this the most.
What you need to do is focus on what you can control. If you run a business and you’re doing well but other companies in your field are winning awards and national clients, that’s okay. Your job is to place your attention on the things that you need to continue to grow. There’s always going to be other brands that do things well, or even better. You can’t compete with everyone.
If you spend your days obsessing over how good your competition is, you’ll either end up copying them or losing all your energy. Figure out what you stand for and even the smallest ways that you can stand out. Drop the need to be perfect and be you instead. This is your greatest point of difference.
We’re not saying finding that intersection is easy when emulating others is something we’ve done since childhood. But it’s a muscle that’s worth developing. It’s not about forgetting what other people think of you (and vice versa) but rather following your own path.
Take inspiration from others, yes, but do your own thing. And be okay with 90%.