Comparison Kills Productivity And This Is How You Can Overcome It
Comparison is productive if taken in the right spirit. For example if you are a 30 year old guy and you come across a 22 year old girl working very hard to achieve what she wants in life, then you can tell yourself “Look at her so young and ambitious and working extremely hard. How about I raise my bar too and challenge myself to achieve more in my life”.
But unfortunately comparison, more often than not, is like shooting yourself in the foot. We tend to visualise not-so-good version of ourselves as compared to the best version of other people. The problem with having this negative comparison mindset is that:
a) We crave for instant success: We look at successful people around us and we crave for what they have and when we don’t get it (which we obviously won’t without putting in the hard work) we feel they are lucky and that success has been handed to them. But what most of us fail to understand is that there is lot of effort that goes into a successful person being successful.
Look at Sachin Tendulkar or Roger Federer. Yes they had a special talent in them but they did not step on to a cricket field or tennis court and start winning matches just like that. Years and years of practice is what made them to be who they are today.
And I am a strong believer that everyone has some sort of talent in them or a skill that they can use to create an impact and make their life meaningful. Some realise this early, some realise this very late or some people never understand what they are good at. It took me 32 years to realise I have a skill in me that I can make use of to add value to my life. But what I also understand now is that I have to put in effort to be where I want to be and attain success.
Still feel you have no worthy skills? Then start looking at positives in people and dish out genuine compliments to them. See the difference in how they treat you a year from now. This world needs more kindness, gratitude and empathy for one another and if you are able to provide that then you are succeeding in life.
b) We believe all are equal: Yes most of us have two eyes, two ears, two hands and so on. But everyone is different in the way they grew up, the circumstances they faced in life, what they are good at, the ambitions or dreams they have, the skills they possess. If you compare yourself with a CEO of a successful company when you were meant to become, let’s say, a successful scriptwriter then you are bound to be doomed.
The issue for people with mental health disorders is that it takes much more effort than normal people to overcome our depression or anxiety and then to go on and achieve whatever we want in life. And comparing our lives with others makes us even more depressed. Instead if we acknowledge the strengths within us (believe me there are) then it helps us move in the right direction.
c) When you compare yourself with others you are losing your originality: I am still guilty of this big time. Just about a week back I was thinking of a charismatic person and how I wish I could be like that person. I spent few days completely pondering about wanting to be like that person and, guess what, my anxiety was on the rise again. Drifting away into fantasy land is something our mind is an expert at.
Everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way and to think otherwise means we are doing disservice to the good qualities that we possess and also draining away our mental energy.
So what is it that we can do to stop being in that constant state of comparisons and instead look within for our growth?
Gratitude is the only effective way that can override this persistent comparison syndrome within us. Gratitude is one important quality that almost all successful people possess. They know their strengths, their capabilities and they are content with themselves. At the ground level this is what separates those who succeed in life and those who do not.
So what exactly is gratitude? To put it in simple terms it is about appreciating your life for the way it is and for all that you have (which you fail to notice when you constantly keep comparing and wanting more out of life). The habit of appreciating yourself over a period of time culminates into true happiness. You feel relaxed physically, psychologically and emotionally.
It took me a while to sink in the fact that the life I am living now is a dream for lakhs of people living on the streets and those who solely rely on food that we throw away to fill their tummies. And it is something that you guys can ponder about too for a brief moment every day.