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The Comparison Game: Don’t play it

Reading Time: 6 minutes

What is the worst game you could ever play? I will give you a hint, it’s not Chutes and Ladders the 47th time. It is a game that you actually play yourself. That game is the comparison game. Something tells me you like to play this game a lot. When I say a lot I mean a whole lot.

Let’s make an example bloggers and podcasters are the worst when it comes to playing the comparison game. If you aren’t a blogger or podcaster, there is your neighbor down the street you can use as an example.

For media creators, we see people who are in our same niche and we hear them talk about how many visits they get a day. They spout off that their struggle was that they were stuck at 4,000 visitors a day. 4000 individual people a day! This is where some blogger would lose their mind. You can hear the blogger who has been hammering out blog posts for 3 years screaming I would celebrate with 40 a day, and this dude is complaining about not being able to get over 4,000!?! Yes, I have heard people complain about having only 10,000 visits a day so my example is undershooting it a bit.

You can see where this game instantly goes wrong. You love all sense of perspective you start to build grudges and resentments. This is often why people don’t like to talk numbers. Be it podcast downloads in a day or website visits, or even how much money a person makes in a year.

Comparison is the thief of joy

Theodore Roosevelt

The comparison game is the habit of comparing your success to another person’s success. You see where other people are and wonder why they are further down the road than you. This creates thoughts and emotions that do not help nor serve your purpose.

Why Comparing yourself to others success doesn’t work

The biggest reason why comparing yourself to others doesn’t work is that it doesn’t serve you. It is rooted in the scarcity mindset. Looking at the success of others and saying useless phrases like, “It must be nice” Isn’t going to get you any closer. Comparing your success to others creates thoughts that generate feelings of frustration, pity, anxiety on whether you are good enough, and even envy. None of these emotions help you to make the next step.

You start questioning your, why. Why are you not at their level? Yeah, you have been busting your butt and cranking out content or you have been providing more value than steve at your job. So why did he get the promotion and you didn’t? Why does that other blogger have more visitors?

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The flaw with comparing yourself to others is that you are not comparing apples to oranges. You don’t know all the detail as to why that person is more successful than you are. You are also comparing their, now, as opposed to their 3 years into their blog. If you do that perspective you will then have a better idea as to where you are.

Perspective is different

It is all about the perspective. When you see someone complaining about something you don’t have you have to apply the right filter. If they are complaining about not having the money for the boat slip fees. Their problems are on a different level than you. Yet if you boil it down to the basics you see that though they are having problems paying for their boat slip and you are hoping to just get your car payment taken care of…

The basic similarity is that you both have money problems. It doesn’t get any better when you have more money. The perspective is very important and often lost when you try to compare yourself to others.

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Different Mindset

Another part that prevents you from having joy in your life because you are comparing yourself to somebody else is that you and the other person have two different mindsets. It is hard to fully understand the whys and the root if you don’t have the same mindset as the other person.

When going through the different trials of becoming successful the big barriers you face are often battles with yourself. Your mindset shifts and changing your limiting beliefs are the keys to making closer to your goals. So when you are on a lower level you really can’t even relate to what the person you are comparing yourself to, because they have passed that spot and on to a tougher spot.

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It’s Not Toxic

Now there are some people who call this a toxic action. I don’t. purely because I hear toxic and I see a venomous snake or spider. Actions cant carry toxins so, therefore, by its very nature isn’t toxic. People use the word toxic to mean that it generates negative emotions in you. That is why I make such a huge differentiation between something that is toxic in your life. Mold is toxic not an event in your life. Events are neutral nether good nor bad till you apply thought to it.

Comparing yourself to others is a bad habit though, for the very reasons I mentioned earlier.

How to Stop the Comparison Game

It is difficult to stop comparing yourself to others I still do it on a daily basis. Especially when I hear someone complain about just having 10,000 visitors a day. I get hit with the same suffering that you do.

Suffering usually relates to you wanting things to be different fro the way they are. – Pema Chödrön

Get the Right Perspective

So to start with you have to get a real sense of reference when you see someone else’s success or the problems they are facing. It can be hard to understand where they are coming from, but you can actually try to see from their perspective.

Doing so can help you see what lays ahead for you to reach the same level of success that they have.

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Stop Whining

Whining and complaining how it’s not fair or it must be nice to that those first world problems does you no good nor does it help you to understand the other person. If anything complaining and sitting around in a scarcity mindset hold you back from the goal you really are after. So when you catch yourself all puffed up like a wet hen change the story you are telling yourself.

Focus that energy on yourself

Now I am not saying beat yourself up over your shortcomings. That only extends the suffering and ill-fitting emotions. Instead, look for ways you can change the relationship with that person. Take that poor me thought and see how you can change it to, “How I can get to that level?”

It takes time and effort, with a good deal of backsliding to learn a new skill and that is what you are learning as you focus on how you can get better. Use that frustration as gas in your tank to try even harder because of that person. You now see that it it possible to get to where you are.

Try talking to the person

When coming to an understanding of the person who you are comparing yourself to, communication is a huge help. You are able to come to a better understanding of where the other person is coming from if you take the time to understand.

Understand that you may have feelings of frustrations and you may even tell yourself that you could never relate with that other person. I would argue differently if you get to talk to them. Put the thoughts of how you cant to the side and pick up the thought of what if. You will find that if you come to them with a sense of curiosity they may be of more value than you even possibly could imagine.

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Instead of comparing

Gratitude goes a long way

When it comes to changing your mindset gratitude is the best tool in your toolbox. It is next to impossible to have a scarcity mindset when you are being grateful. It makes it easier to understand the other person you are comparing yourself to when you have an abundant mindset. You see all the possibilities that lay before you. Think of all the reasons it is good to have this other person who is a little more successful than you.

Get on the winning team

This goes with focus on yourself. Start pouring all the resources you have into finding a way to get to the level you are wanting. That means you have to work on yourself which can be hard and really uncomfortable but if the work is uncomfortable then it probably needs to be addressed.

Accept That You Are Not Perfect

You need to work yourself, to do that you have to be humble enough to accept that you have work to do. You see someone getting accolades for their work. Then that tells you that you need to start hoofing it more. Put in the effort and ask for more responsibilities. Prove yourself more valuable.

Find that balance it is there. You see where you are lacking in say in feeding your soul then make sure you get that taken care of. If you are well balanced you have the bandwidth to make a greater value to others. That value increases your success. To do that you have to face the fact that you need that work.

Stop Shoulding on yourself

Nobody likes being should on. Especially when it is coming from you. So instead of talking about what you should be doing, go and do that thing. Yeah, you may find that you really don’t have the drive or motivation right now, but if you push yourself you will engage the needed gear and will be able to get it done. That is what most of the successful people are able to do and the unsuccessful people don’t. They know what needs to be done and they get it done.

Comparing yourself does quite a bit of damage to yourself and the possible connections you could have with a great mentor and guide who can give the needed leg up.

If you really want to be at the level of the person you are comparing yourself to stop resisting the need to find out how they did it. You are only causing yourself more suffering and losing the perspective of a good friend in the process. So get out there and start talking and connect with that other person. Doing so will help you and your son to become stronger and more successful down the road.

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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

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