Many of us who are naturally competitive constantly evaluate our own success and failures against our counterparts. We see others and use their achievements as measuring sticks.
But this sets us up for unhappiness because there will always be someone doing it better. We can’t possibly be the best at everything. Even the most successful people on the planet are successful in a few select areas not in everything.
There is a Hindu proverb that speaks to this. It says, “There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The nobility is in being superior to your previous self.”
But we all get caught up in comparing ourselves to the others. Whether we call it keeping up with the Joneses or simply trying to display our success for others to see, we all do this from time to time.
One thing that I learned from following the systems and habits approach to improvement is that when you truly start to improve and get better, you can start to judge yourself against your former self. This allows you to keep moving and getting better.
Instead of a moving target where you can always find someone doing it better, you compare against where you were yesterday. This allows you to shift from constantly feeling as though you need extreme wins to feeling as though small victories are just as important.
I urge you to start to look at your life to see where you are better than a previous self. Are you getting better in important areas of your life or worse?
If the answer is that you are staying the same or getting worse, then you have to work to change. Change isn’t easy but in order to expect something above what you currently have you have to have different thoughts and actions.
Then you can start to find small elements that you can tweak and then standardize. You can start to create better systems in your life that move you forward. Then you can start to look back and marvel at the incredible progress you have made and how much better you are today than you were yesterday.