They say you should never compare yourself to others.
Because, comparison might make you feel bad about your life?
You might be filled with envy?
These consequences are not a result of the comparison, but are a result of your perspective.
When done correctly, there’s a lot of value that can be gained by comparing yourself to others.
Comparisons don’t work if you just let your ego take control and become envious and bitter.
But, there is another way.
Comparisons should be motivational — or, at least instructive.
Use comparisons to make yourself better — not bitter.
So, if you’re thinking that comparisons are bad, they’re not.
Comparisons can be very, very healthy.
You just need to know when and how to use comparisons to your benefit.
You are never going to be able to stop comparing yourself to others, even if you wanted to.
As humans, we are hardwired to compare ourselves to other people around us.
In the 1950s, the work of psychologist Leon Festinger made popular the social-comparison theory, which argues that people naturally evaluate themselves against the people around them.
It’s just a part of who you are as a social being.
And, while left uncontrolled, this natural tendency to compare can become negative, when leveraged properly comparisons will have a positive influence on your life.
For example, a study in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science found that in races where a runner was competing against a rival, the runner finished each kilometer of the race 5 seconds faster than when they ran without a rival.
Comparisons have the power to make you better, to improve your performance, and to help you reach your goals.
If comparisons can make you better, why is there so much talk about not comparing yourself to others?
Why is the dominant narrative that it’s a bad thing to compare yourself to others?
Because, people are not leveraging the comparisons in a way that allows them to improve.
You need to have the right perspective and the right outlook for a comparison to be beneficial.