Teddy Roosevelt once said that “comparison is the thief of joy.” It robs you of your happiness and fulfillment when you see that someone else has done something better, faster, smarter, or bigger than you have. It causes you to question your own unique abilities and talents, along with the value you bring to others.
Comparing yourself and your successes to others is a dangerous practice. Don’t get me wrong, it is also natural especially when you’re looking to elevate your lifestyle and career.
That said, here’s my best advice on how to stop comparing yourself to others and savor your own fulfillment:
Acknowledge Your Practice of Comparison
Comparing ourselves to others becomes a habit, often to the point where you don’t even realize you’re doing it. It’s important to acknowledge when you start comparing yourself to others and to make it a point to stop immediately upon realization.
When you do notice you’ve been comparing yourself to others, don’t feel bad or guilty. It’s a natural practice, but like any bad habit, you must learn to remove the habit from your life. Rather than looking at what you don’t have, focus on what you do have and how you can use that to take your life to the next level to achieving your dreams.
Find Your Strengths
Each person has something unique to offer. In many cases, it’s simply a matter of finding your strong points and embracing them with everything you have.
Take inventory of your strengths and notice how they have helped make you into the unique person you are. If you’re struggling to come up with the specifics, just ask the people who know you best.
Not only can they offer up what they like most about you and what they feel you do well, but their answers can also give you a much-needed ego boost that will help you realize just how special you are.
Address Your Own Weaknesses
As you’re identifying your strengths, it’s also a good time to take note of your weaknesses. It’s also a common feeling of struggle to speak negatively about yourself and have a difficult time admitting when you don’t do certain things well. But the only way to improve on those weaknesses is to first identify them and come to terms with the fact that you could do better.
Further, rather than looking at how your weaknesses hold you back, know that this process is great for self-awareness. So when you are ready to take action with achieving your goals, you can also look at outsourcing any of the things you may not be so good at as you push towards making progress.
Find Joy in Your Imperfections
Confident, successful people are not the ones who are perfect but the ones who are okay with being imperfect. When your imperfections start to bring you down, try to find joy in them. Your imperfections are what make you different than anybody else, and being imperfect is not the same as being a failure.
Now, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to improve yourself to reduce your weaknesses and increase your strengths. Self-improvement is wholly a good thing, as long as it doesn’t sacrifice your happiness and confidence in the process. Rather, you should approach any type of self-improvement with a clear vision of the value it will bring.
Maybe you’ll never be a world champion skier, top the list of Inc 5000, or win the Pulitzer Prize. And that’s okay — your life is enough.
Appreciate, Don’t Compete
The only competition in life is the competition you create. Look at how you can develop milestones for yourself so that you can get one step closer to living the kind of life that you want.
Rather than seeing everyone as your competition, appreciate the moments when others help you see better ways to do things. Watching others succeed can prevent you from becoming complacent and help you define your own potential.
Even if you never “catch up” to them, you might end up inspiring your own great ideas that can produce results far better than you ever imagined.
Remember that Things Aren’t Always as They Seem
It’s easy to think that other people have it better than you because of what they publish on social media, the clothes they wear, the car they drive, or the house they live in. But there are also a lot of things behind the scenes in their lives that you don’t see.
Anybody can paint a picture of success. But remember that they’re human too, and they’re going to struggle in their own ways. Everybody has things about themselves they would like to change. Maybe it’s expanding their knowledge on a subject or reaching a new level of success.
And who knows — the people you compare yourself to may at some point compare themselves to you too.
Make Others’ Abilities Your Strengths
It’s always easier to compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter fifty, but instead of using that as a way to make yourself feel inferior, use it as motivation for where you want to go with your side hustle or business.
Instead of seeing others who are more successful than you as a threat, shift your thinking to see them as strategic partners. See if they’re willing to share any stories or advice that can help you overcome the challenges you face. You can learn a lot from somebody who knows more and has done more than you, so see it as a valuable opportunity to help you get closer to your own goals.
Focusing on what’s important to you in alignment with your goals will allow you to achieve a sense of peace, purpose, and happiness in your work, and that’s far more important than anything anyone else has that you don’t.