Do you catch yourself sometimes?
You know, looking at an old school friends Facebook feed and thinking how far they have come, the nice car they drive, the new house they live in. The marital bliss, the perfect 2.4 children on a leafy lane in suburbia. The holidays, the fun, the endless smiles. The financial security, the thriving job or business. They look so content and so happy. So in love, the greatest husband/wife/mother/ father/lover/whatever in the world.
Do you sit there and think, how have they got it so right and where did I go wrong?
How is that guy or girl so far further down the road than me?
You don’t compare?
Good, because that’s a battle you will always lose and one of the quickest routes to unimaginable misery.
I heard a great saying about this the other week from a Podcast I listen to every now and again (MFCEO with Andy Frisella*), he says “Stop counting other people’s money”. I quite like that. He goes on to give 4 great reasons why we should all stop comparing ourselves to others and I agree with them all.
- You only see what people want you to see.
How true is that, and the Social Media age makes that even worse. Social Media just gives us highlights of people’s lives and not the real thing, but we always compare it to our lives. What we don’t see is the debt, the credit card bills, the mortgages, the finance payments for them to live that life. We have no way of knowing if the life is so leveraged, they have no money to live for the last week of the month. The sad fact is, we believe what they say and what they show us is their reality. How many times have you heard of old friends breaking up after many years together to hear horror stories of abuse and hardship and you catch yourself saying things like, “I thought John and Judy were so happy – they seemed to have it all!”
- You don’t see the sacrifices and what they give up.
So, let’s assume John and Judy do have it all. The wealth, the family, the holidays, the business, the house, the cars – they have everything. Bloody good on them, but what we don’t see is the sacrifices they make and what they give up to get that life. We just take inventory of all they have, and assume, as we are the hardest working people we know, it’s impossible to achieve and have what they have. We don’t see the long hours, the weekend work. We don’t know that they don’t watch 4 episodes of Breaking Bad, a night on Netflix and take weekends off. What happens then is you resent their success when the reality is, they work harder and sacrifice more than you.
- Why make yourself unhappy?
That’s what you do when you compare yourself to others. It just makes you unhappy. You become resentful and envious of others, when there just isn’t a good reason to be, for the reasons points 1 and 2 demonstrate.
- The more time you spend comparing, the less time you are doing!
When you are looking at John and Judy and becoming more and more resentful of what they have and what you don’t have, the worse you feel. You feel bad because you’re not as successful or as wealthy as them, and then you feel like a loser. The more time you then spend resenting them, they get further ahead. They keep doing what they are doing, but you take no action to get where you want to be. The gap widens, the resentment grows, the more time you spend comparing and being bitter, the less you actually do. The ultimate vicious circle.
Comparing ourselves doesn’t have to be about money either. It could be about anything, not just material things. Business, money, family, relationships and other things that lead us to believe we are not worthy or good enough.
I urge every one of you today to stop comparing yourself to others. It’s an argument you’ll always lose and a pointless one.
Set yourself goals, both long term and short term. Compare yourself to these and work hard each day to achieve them. This will give you long term satisfaction and happiness.
Who knows, by living the life that you want as opposed to somebody else’s, you might find an army of people trying to compare themselves to you.
*Parental Advisory here. Andy Frisella has his own pretty unique spin on the world of business. His language is pretty choice and he takes no prisoners. I have no issue with it, but I appreciate you may, hence the warning!