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The Key to Success? Not Comparing Yourself to Others

The Key to Success? Not Comparing Yourself to Others

The grass is always greener. I’ve been there, scrolling through newsfeeds on social media, talking to friends, seeing successful people all over the place. That’s when the feeling starts to creep in that I’m not good enough, that I’m not motivated enough, that I need to do better.

It seems like we focus on the people who appear to be doing better than we are, instead of focusing on ourselves or those who may be struggling the most.

I think, “If I could just do what that guy is doing I’d have enough money to buy a house, to live comfortably for the rest of my days, and my worries would be over.”

There are several multiple things wrong with that sentiment, first and foremost, our worries will never cease. In fact, it might be worth noting that once you get to a certain place your worries only increase as you try to maintain the new things you have. If you buy a house, you have to worry about maintenance; if you get married or have a child, you have to worry about doing the best you can for your new family. If you get that new job you have to worry about doing it right and keeping up with its demands.

I’ve lived with schizophrenia for ten years now and demands are the last thing I want to have to worry about.

The problem with comparing yourself to other people is that everyone is supposed to be different. Everyone has different skills, desires and ambitions. Our lives are bound to diverge. Just like your life is met with opportunity and hardship, everyone else had different opportunities — and hardships.

Comparing yourself to other people is just a recipe for disappointment. There will always someone who is in a better position that you — or at least it will seem that way. The most important thing is finding happiness and satisfaction in your own endeavors.

Instead of beating yourself up for all the things you aren’t, think about who you are. Take a step back and take stock of your life. Chances are you’ve had your fair share of success and personal growth in the face of adversity. One can easily take those achievements for granted, but it’s highly likely that you are an inspiration to others around you. Instead of beating yourself up for all the things you aren’t, think about who you are and what you have accomplished.

If you want to strive for more, make it personal growth and acceptance. Make up for any lack of money with a wealth of compassion and gratitude. Make your friendship and altruism your fortune.

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The Key to Success? Not Comparing Yourself to Others


Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here


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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). The Key to Success? Not Comparing Yourself to Others. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-key-to-success-is-not-comparing-yourself-to-others/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.