The constant need to compare our every action, inaction, accomplishment, failure, possession, or lack thereof is crushing our emotional fitness.
For every one step forward we take in feeling good about where we are and where things are going, we take at least one step back when we compare it to someone else. Someone needs to hear this today...
How on earth do we beat this thing called The Comparison Trap? It is more like a seemingly indomitable, invisible force that causes us to feel bad even when things are good.
Even the ones who acknowledge that they are subject to the gripping, debilitating power of comparison seem to fall victim to it every once in a while. I’ll share some of mine in a moment and then give you the solutions.
Here are a couple of questions to get this party going:
- In which areas do I repeatedly make comparisons?
- My friend group
- My athleticism, my height, my muscles, my sports performance
- My spouse and how kind/loving/patient he or she is not compared to his or hers
- Our income
- My likability, charisma, character
- My knowledge, intelligence
- My possessions- house, car, clothes, things
Hopefully you were brutally honest. Next up:
- Do the comparisons I often make result in an immediate feeling of discontentment or genuine motivation?
I’ve talked to a lot of athletes and adults who lied to me when I asked them what comparison did to them. “It just motivates me to get better.”
While that may be true, it is still causing you to be discontent and to strive after something that you may not need, truly want, or even be able to get. Yikes, that will leave you even more frustrated and discontented.
Don’t lie to yourself, is your discontentment with where you are and what you have the typical feeling that results from your comparisons?
- Why am I not content? REALLY, why?
Here is where the rubber meets the road.
To be honest with you, I often find myself discontent with where our business and finances are. I have felt discontent at times with how successful The Youth Truth book has been this year during its launch.
And you know what? The discontentment is ALWAYS because of one of two things:
1st: my subconscious comparison to, in this case, someone else’s business, someone else’s income, someone else’s book launch. I don’t choose to compare, it just happens.
2nd: Time, skill, or lack of hard work and/or self-discipline
- Time: “Never compare the beginning of your journey with the middle of someone else’s”. Be patient, be persistent.
- Skill: I need to learn a new skill. Book writing and book launching are two completely different things, for my example. I need to develop a skill that I have not yet developed.
- Lack of hard work/discipline: I jumped to other things impulsively rather than sticking with something. Probably because I was comparing, feeling discontent, did not like that feeling, and therefore jumped ship.
Is any of this stuff making sense? Can you see the areas of your child’s life where this is taking him or her hostage? Can you see it in your own life?
We all do it, but few overcome it. Here is how I defeat it daily.
- Recognize the feeling of discontentment that comes from comparison.
- Remember to thank God for what you have and acknowledge that if you are reading this from a phone or computer, you have more than 99% of the world
“I have learned to be content in all circumstances.”
- Decide if it is worth it, if you can actually get it, and meant for you.
- Recognizing your progress, give yourself a pat on the back, and feel satisfaction. Achievement minus fulfillment is the ultimate failure.
- Set a realistic time frame to get it and a recognizable milestone for once you’ve got it. Otherwise, it’ll be this pie in the sky goal that you never actually know you’ve achieved. That is frustration in its purest form.
- Get help, put yourself in a position to succeed, and make sure you get support and accountability. (Joining the 6 Week Transformation Challenge is one way).
Today was a longer note than usual but it is one that is pertinent today and every day. Rise up and do your best today. As my friend Alex says, there is strength in service. Commit your works to those you love most.
Coach Andrew Simpson