Compare, Yes. Envy, No.
It’s 11pm and you’re tired. Look at you: binge watching Netflix again while multi-tasking a mind-numbing scroll on social media.
You silently take in Jason’s perfect family photos during his 18-day trip abroad. You then make your way through Sarah’s new album of her absolutely seamless, high-end party she recently threw for her boss’s best friend’s neighbor. Her dreams of starting an event planning business are coming to life. And then there’s Chris. He just bought his dream home in the Pacific Northwest. Good for Chris.
Yet, here you are. Exhausted and now you feel a twinge of jealousy in your gut.
For most people, comparison is a daily activity. All it takes is a quick scan of your social media accounts to feel it. You see the luxury cars, the vacations, the suddenly booming businesses, the perfectly groomed and smiling kids. It’s not difficult to get sucked in.
However, there is a key difference that separates people into two categories.
- Those who simmer in a place of jealousy.
- Those who take a comparative look at their situations and adjust accordingly.
The people who look around at others and move straight to jealousy typically aren’t going to find happiness in their day-to-day life. They will never feel content with what they have and they will never be happy with who they are. This type of person will allow that brewing jealousy to bubble and overflow into every aspect of their life. Jealousy is toxic. It serves no one.
The people who compare their situation to others – since it really is a natural tendency – but use it as a tool will set themselves apart from the rest. This person will continue to change, to learn, to grow into the type of person they want to be.
Which person are you? Ask yourself if you’d rather compete or collaborate. You’ll find your answer there.
Comparison can be a powerful tool.
Through my experience with clients of all ages, I’ve come to the belief that it’s regulated comparison which drives the greatest and most successful people to do big things. Maybe it’s rooted in a bit of jealousy at first, but it truly is human nature. Successful people understand this as well. Once the drive for something bigger and better is there, you must use it to propel yourself forward into your own uncharted territory. Whether it’s in your relationships, your work, or your own personal mindset, taking a moment to look at how you want these areas to change can make all the difference.
Compare your circumstances as you wish and adjust accordingly.
You’ll notice that there’s quite a bit of talk out there about how important it is to NOT compare yourself to others. Don’t compare yourself. Don’t compare your life. Don’t compare your day-to-day circumstances. Many people will tell you that you’re on your own unique path, and it’s unlike anyone else’s. Many people firmly believe that nothing positive can come from comparison.
I say, focus on WHY you want certain areas of your life to change. I still believe comparison is a good thing. If you dig deep and truly focus on how your emotions reveal themselves, you’ll start to notice which areas of your life are lacking. Whether your personal relationships could use extra help or you have been avoiding taking the leap with your new business venture, you will see what is truly most important.
Comparison helps you reach your goals.
Many people will tell you that comparing yourself to others will only leave you feeling less-than. But I don’t believe that. It’s not a character flaw to want to compare yourself to others. If you use comparison correctly, it can be a very beneficial tool to pinpoint exactly what you want from life. Comparison can provide the impetus to completely focus on your goals. You might just find some unique gifts along the way. Oftentimes, it’s within the process of comparison that the strongest people find their way.
Real growth happens when you compare yourself today to the person you were yesterday.
The most useful way you can use comparison is when you are analyzing your own ideas. Are you better than you were last year? Last month? Last week? This is how you improve. This is how you use the powerful tool of comparison to better yourself and your circumstances. Great people move forward every day through the use of targeted comparison. It IS a tool. It’s meant to be used. Avoid the pitfall of jealousy by using comparison frequently to assess your growth. You’ll be amazed by the results.
Now…Go throw your most epic party. Sit down and figure out how you can make that dream vacation a reality. Map out a draft of your next big business plan.
The grass is always greener on the other side, right?
Yes, but that’s OK. If you water your own lawn, yours will be just as vibrant.