Five ways to deal with comparisonitis

Are you wasting precious energy worrying about what other people are doing or have? Here are five ways to deal with comparisonitis.

Comparing ourselves to others is perfectly normal aspect of human nature. We want to fit in with others, feel that we are as good as others and that we are on the right path to achieving success. 

But, while there are some advantages to making comparisons, by and large it is a fruitless task. To quote Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy”.

When we compare ourselves to others, we can start to judge ourselves harshly, undermining and underplaying our own achievements. We may feel jealous and resentment towards that person’s success and in some cases, try and replicate what they do even though deep down, it isn’t what we actually want!  

Five ways to deal with comparisonitis

We are all on a different path and we have different values and different definitions of success. So when comparisonitus strikes, here are five ways to manage it. 

1) Step back

Question what you specifically want that the other person has. Sometimes, comparisonitus is a knee jerk reaction but do you actually want what is that you’re comparing yourself against? How important is this to you? How will it impact your life if you do have it?

2) Get curious

Rather than feel disappointed or jealous or frustrated, start to enquire and understand how they have achieved what it is that you want. Look at their LinkedIn profile and/or ask them if you can. They have shown that it is possible and accessible. What steps can you now take? Who can help you?

3) Don’t believe the hype

Remember there is a difference between perception and reality. People put their best selves out there, but you never know what challenges they are facing, or have faced, to get to where they are, they are unlikely to share what is really going on behind the scenes. Also, to put it bluntly, some people just simply bulls**t.       

4) Watch your self-talk

When we have self-belief, we are less likely to compare ourselves to others. Our primal brain naturally focuses on negative aspects of our lives and so it is important to practice acknowledging your strengths, achievements, successes, and daily wins.

Ask other people you know and trust how they see you. Look at your strengths from someone else’s perspective. What skills, knowledge and experience do you need to feel more confident? What is your next step in this respect?

5) Focus on your goals

Do what’s right for you to achieve your goals and create your version of success. To quote Bob Goff, “We won’t be distracted by comparison if we’re captivated by purpose.” Get clear on where you are heading and what’s important to you and focus on this. 

Julie Greaves is a coach and the founder of Carrot Coaching, a coaching organisation which works with ambitious professionals to help them gain career clarity and confidence to live a limitless life with purpose and direction.  

Photo by Bùi Thanh Tâm