I have only written two books. Tim Ferriss has written five, all big bestsellers.
I am working on building a business. People like Patrick Collison are shaping the world.
My blog visitor counts are in thousands and those I know are getting lakhs, millions of visits.
I am still working on getting into shape. And, that guy I noticed yesterday is already super fit.
These could have been my thoughts. Thankfully they are not.
I just thought about the areas where I could compare my work/realities to others for this post and came up with what I wrote above. Hope these thoughts will not stick now 🙂
Now for a moment imagine if these were actually my thoughts. What could I have done to change these thoughts?
I could have edited them (in my head) as you see below.
- I have written two books.
- I am working on building a business.
- My blog visitor counts are in thousands.
- I am working on getting into shape.
This is the version without comparison, the version I am not worried about those who ahead of me in the journey.
Suddenly, the list looks much better. This list makes me look at life from a place of abundance and growth, and not from a place of scarcity.
Popular advice is that when you get sad or demotivated by comparing yourself to someone ahead of you, you should compare yourself to somebody who is behind you. And, you’ll feel happy and successful.
I don’t think this approach can give anyone lasting happiness and satisfaction because this approach unknowingly conveys the message that to feel good you need to compare yourself to someone. Such happiness that is dependent on comparison will not last long.
A better approach is to look at what you are doing/have done, and note it as a matter of fact. Then move all that is good and what looks like progress to ‘growth’ section.
Then list challenges and failures and move them to the ‘learnings’ section. There, next to each challenge and failure mention what you learned from that failure.
Be grateful for growth, and feel good about it, without needing to look at someone who is behind to feel good. For sure, guide those who are on the path you’ve already been on.
In case of those ahead of you, you don’t need to avoid noting or hearing about their success. Use them as your inspiration and also learn from them by asking questions directly or reading their book.
If you are a compulsive comparer like many of us then try to find sonder by remembering that we are all unique beings, with our unique challenges and realities.
This change will not happen in a swoop but slowly you will see yourself focusing on your work, with worrying about others. This will save you a ton of mental and emotional energy, which will fuel your work further.