Why should we not compare ourselves with others?
Because you have no frame of reference.
Comparison isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, it’s essential to success and it allows you to mentally “score” your performance compared to your competitors.
But if you take it to the extreme, it can become debilitating, demotivating, and soul crushing.
The simple reason is that you have no frame of reference.
Here’s what I mean.
1. You are comparing RESULTS not processes
When most people compare themselves to others, they are comparing their RESULTS vs. their processes.
For example …
- You compare the amount of money you earn to how much someone else earns
- You compare your physique to someone else’s
- You compare someone else’s relationship to yours
But you aren’t looking at the CAUSE of their results a.k.a. the processes.
If you want to compare yourself to someone else … Do it.
But compare your processes not your results.
- Compare how much time you spend working on your business and how productive you are against how much time your biggest competitor spends and how productively they spend that time.
- Compare the training program that other people in the gym are following to the training program you follow
- Compare the WORK that someone else has put into their relationship (counseling, long conversations, reading books etc) to how much WORK you’ve put in.
When you do this, you’ll realize that all of the success you desire is achievable if you follow the PROCESSES that others are following to get the results you desire.
2. You are comparing your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20
Again, when you compare your RESULTS to someone else’s RESULTS, you are only looking at one part of the picture.
You have no idea how much time and effort someone else has put into achieving the results you envy.
You don’t know what resources they started with, what sort of help they had along the way, or how long it took for them to achieve the results.
So instead of ENVYING their results, ask them about the effort they expended to achieve those results.
Figure out how long they’ve been in the game. Determine whether or not they had access to special resources. Figure out how much effort they put into getting where they are and THEN use them as a benchmark for your own performance.
3. Ultimately the only person that matters is YOU
You can compare yourself to other people all day long and it won’t benefit you a damn bit.
Instead, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.
Because even if you compare the processes. Even if you look at the amount of effort that other people have put in… You still have no frame of reference.
You don’t know what it’s like to be them. You don’t know what really motivates them. You don’t know the whole story (and you never will).
So stop worrying about what other people are doing and focus on YOU.
Because that’s the only way you’ll improve.
Instead of wasting your valuable time comparing yourself to other people, ask yourself the simple question, “How can I become a better man or woman than the man or woman I was yesterday? How can I improve by 1% today?”
Because that’s where real power is unlocked.
I hope this helps
This post first appeared on Quora.