I was recently at a mall parking lot, parked next to a Bentley. Amazing car. Expensive car. Looking at my hybrid next to this classic symbol of affluence, I felt a twang of insignificance.
I recently watched the boy group Collabro compete and win on Britain’s got talent. They are a group of 5 amazingly talented vocalists who sing flawlessly together. I have a singing voice like a vuvuzela – the South African soccer horn. I felt a dwarfed by their talent.
Whoa. Stop. Comparing ourselves to others never leads to a successful outcome. Either we think we are less, have less or do less than another and we feel inferior. Or, we think we are more, have more or do more than others and we feel superior. Feeling superior or inferior to another never helps us focus on what matters most –to focus inward on our potential. The only person we should compare ourselves to is the person we were yesterday – to commit to being better and truer to ourselves today.
Each of us has our ‘thing’ – our talent, strength or ability (our built-in success attribute that helps us excel) – not in everything, but in our thing. Some are great with people; others are better with numbers. Some are great with research; others are great with technology. Some love to save lives; others like to build companies. Money means a lot to some and not much to others. Some want to get married and have families, others don’t.
We get forced into comparisons when we let society tell us what success or what a great life is; it seems to be in our nature to check to see what others have that we don’t. We then use our energy to compete instead of to be authentic.
So back to the fancy car and the boy band with the great voices. How do we look at someone else’s success and applaud it, without comparing ourselves to it? Here are two ways:
- Be clear about who you are and what matters to you. It is easy to compare yourselves to others when you don’t know or see who you really are and what really matters to you. Know your intrinsic talents, strengths and passions – they will help you see that you have all that you need to create your own definition of success.
- Be grateful for what you have. Life sends only two things – things to celebrate or things to learn from. Appreciating and learning from what comes your way reduces the need to check in to see what other people are getting.
When we learn to discover and listen to what our own voice says, then we’ll be more interested in being who we are and less focused on others. This voice tells us what is important for us; we should listen. It has great wisdom. Mostly it reminds us to focus on what matters to us and not to waste our time comparing ourselves to others. Our amazing isn’t their amazing. And their amazing isn’t ours. Cool.