Using Comparison to your Advantage
One of the many ways we’ve developed as humans is by using the tools of comparison. It’s an inevitable and innate part of our humanity and truly unavoidable. We use it as a way of creating a barometer to know if we’re “too”, “not enough” or “just right”. You know how this goes - the quiet or often times loud voices that judge your actions, your statements, your behavior and your entire being as aligned or opposed to others. As natural as this is, it’s to our advantage to prevent comparison from seeping into our psyche where it can drain vital energy.
You may know I’m a competitive athlete. In the first couple years of this endeavor, I was persistently focused on how I stacked up next to others in this fledgling sport. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I shifted gears to focus on bringing out my personal best that I began to thrive and excel as never before. The practice of shifting the focus of my efforts was a challenge at first, but it was a significant change that continues to improve many aspects of my life and outlook.
The act of comparison can inspire us. It prompts a drive that wasn’t there prior to imagining how we match up and wanting to meet the goals we’ve created. The catch is to avoid the fine line where we become miserable, where we are as a servant to the objects of comparison as opposed to the recipient of glorious organic energy of the image we’ve formed.
A simple example that made a huge change for me - I’ve reduced the glaring comparison-trap by nevermore-perusing fashion and beauty magazines. For a few years I’d limit viewing at the nail salon or on flights, indulging in the latest trends and styles. Well, not any longer! Reading through these mags just never made me feel good, in fact I’d close the magazines feeling somehow deficient, every time. That’s their goal, after all, so we consume more of their products that have the ‘cures’ to these deficiencies. Now I bring a book, podcasts and articles that fill my brain with useful information and insights. Choose your own personal motivation! Beyond this simple act it’s important to become sensitive to how comparisons serve you in the most personal way. If it’s not making you feel positively motivated and charged, let it go or reframe it so it does serve you, now!