I have a bad tendency to compare myself to others. I look at another individual’s success and then compare against my own trials and tribulations.
Luckily I learned years ago to put less emphasis on this external comparison and more emphasis on comparing myself against myself. This allows me to avoid unfair comparisons and instead focus on improving myself over time.
One of the things that came out of this was the shift to focus on growth and improvement. The best way to compare myself against myself was to do so over time.
Am I getting better or worse? What areas gain more focus over the years and what seems to lose all meaning?
Then I can strive to take action and work to improve without being overwhelmed. When we look to others for comparisons we can always find someone that was ultra successful in one specific area.
If we start to golf we can compare to Tiger Woods. This is a completely unfair comparison for most people learning to golf. Plus, even though many would love to be able to play golf as well as Tiger Woods, most people would prefer a different family life than the one Woods leads.
If we see a successful celebrity and strive to be better than them in their preferred field, we are often seeing an illusion of that person, not the full picture. That is why whenever something negative comes out about someone whose image has been perfectly created to be positive, we suddenly have a conflict in how we envision that individual.
The reason is simple. Life is incredibly complex. Being successful in one area of your life doesn’t mean you are successful in every area.
A better approach is to identify the important elements of your life and strive to improve each area. Then you can start to make incremental improvement. Each change can be small but over time they all add up to create a much better version of you.
Then we can all strive to be a better version. We can constantly look to improve, without getting overwhelmed. If we are falling short in an area, we can make changes to slowly start getting better, instead of expecting extreme success for our meager efforts.