The Perils of Comparison
I can’t tell you how many people I have met during my world travels when only after a few minutes of conversation they started comparing themselves to someone or something else. A competitor, a celebrity, a fellow employee or even someone they didn’t even know.
Why do we need personal validation by comparison? Why do we need to feel better or worthier than others? And why can’t we accept who we are, what we have accomplished, our flaws and mistakes, our failures and disappointments without the ego’s need to compare and look better than others?
As a global speaker for many years I have observed this trait is especially true of many people in my profession, but believe me - we are not unique. I can’t tell you how many business people I have met who have to tell some story about who they are better than, smarter than and/or more accomplished than others they know and even those they don’t know in some way.
Trust me – you don’t have to be the smartest, best looking, wealthiest or most famous person in the room to feel good about yourself. So why are so many people stuck in this comparison mode whether subtly or overtly “in your face”?
Not to brag here (that is not my intent) but I want to make a simple statement – during my career as an international bestselling author (over 80 books) and a global speaker (25 countries) my intent and goal was never fame and let me state that I have been very successful in achieving this goal. Go ahead laugh.
Life is not about what others think of you or you think of others. And if it is - trust me you will never find contentment, inner peace or happiness because there will always be someone out there smarter, better and wealthier etc. than you in some way – always!
Have you ever noticed that when people generally compare themselves to others they either use someone less successful or someone who they can criticize whether this person deserves it or not?
I can also tell you that many of my heroes – to mention just a few – Og Mandino, Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Jesus, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa and Charlie Tremendous Jones - comparison was not in their DNA.
What they all had in common was the humility and the desire to contribute in their own special way to the value of humanity and life in general.
Let me ask you – have you ever compared yourself to others to try and convince yourself that you were better in some way or just to make yourself feel OK about yourself? Come on – be honest here.
Why do we need to compare? Is it insecurity, an overcharged ego, the need for approval, the desire to please or simply the fact that we can’t admit that we all have flaws and/or weaknesses in our thoughts, actions, decisions and behaviors in some way?
I challenge you for the next couple of weeks as you talk with others to observe their comparisons or your own during conversations and then ask yourself – why? Why do I need to do this? Why do they need to do this? Try it you will be amazed at how frequently we are all guilty of this simple yet rather stupid trait. Stupid you say Tim? Yep, cause what do you think you really accomplish with all of these comparisons? More or less respect? More or less fame? More or less self-satisfaction? More or less something_______? Sorry!!!