The subject of Comparisonitis has been coming up a lot recently with my clients and was an issue raised by the subject of last week’s blog – TEDx Speaker, Caroline Emile. Caroline shared with us that she had a nervous moment when she realised who some of the other speakers were – feeling that they were far more accomplished than her. You can see or read her interview here.
She mentioned that she was procrastinating and delaying – which is a huge signal that some comparisonitis is going on.
So why does it happen?
Well, your brain likes to make sense of things. In order to do that it has to have reference points. How do you know if you ran a good marathon? You time it and because you know what the fastest and slowest times have ever been, you can benchmark yourself on your result.
This can be helpful to know if you are on the right track and if you use this information for inspiration in a, “If they can do it then so can I”, kind of way. But if this turns into comparisonitis, then it can be hugely disadvantaging.
If you look at someone who ran 30 minutes faster then you and think – “Why can’t I do that? I will never be as good as them, I might as well give up” then that is not going to help.
Comparisonitis in Business
I see many small business owners inflicted with this condition and it really keeps them stuck and stops them moving forward in their business.
Listen – I’m going to say this only once (that might be a line from 80’s TV program ‘Allo ‘Allo!) – you CANNOT EVER compare yourself and your business results to anyone else.
No, I’m serious.
And for these reasons:-
- You have no idea whether what you are seeing is even true. Seen through the rose-coloured lens of Social Media, things may not actually be as they seem. So, you could be comparing yourself with a lie, or at least only one facet of the truth
- You don’t know the details of the other persons life, their experience, their costs, their personal situation that has got them to where they are (if indeed they are), or how long it has taken them. As a friend of mine once said, “It’s taken me 15 years to be an overnight success”.
- They are not YOU. Each of us is on our own path, and things will happen when they are meant to happen for you. Unless you get in your own way by sinking into Comparisonitis!
Seriously – that person that you think is SOOO together and has the lifestyle you want, might be looking at you and wishing for the loving relationship you have. The grass is always greener right?
Except that it really isn’t. Money and success don’t bring happiness. Happiness brings money and success.
When you pursue money and success it runs away from you. You can get there sometimes with pure bloody-mindedness and hard work, but you are likely to suffer burn out and not enjoy the journey.
Please understand this. The journey is the important bit. If you wait to be happy until you are as successful as so and so, or have as much money as this other person, then you will never be happy. Money doesn’t bring happiness.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather have more money than less money. Money gives you choices and can make tough times less tough. BUT. And it is a BIG but. (no, not that kind of butt!). You need to be happy with where you are at. Once you are happy with where you are, THEN everything else falls into place.
So stop comparing yourself to others, and be happy with where you are. That doesn’t mean that you ‘settle’. It is great to have dreams and a vision of where you want to be but look at what you have done so far! Congratulate yourself on being a better version of YOU today than you were yesterday.
Be happy for other people, but don’t compare yourself to them. You see, you can never be them, and they can never be YOU.
As that famous philosopher, Cat in The Hat, once said:-
Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.