Everywhere you look there are people to compare yourself to, stuff others have you don’t have, and skills and talents you see on display that you don’t have. We all do this in one way or another but if we are not careful it will consume us. We find ways to judge ourselves against others in every way imaginable. So how do you stop?
Sometimes I look at the incredible amount of skills and talent that is in one person and I am amazed by how blessed they are. Take Bruno Mars, he is a singer, songwriter, performer, musician, and seems to be a pretty cool guy to be around.
Or pick any super talented person you know. Maybe they are a sports star, your boss, your spouse, or a friend in each case they have these amazing skills and talents, where I get into trouble is when I begin to compare myself. I don’t have these talents to any degree they do nor do I think I can get there.
When I was in school, I had several engineer student friends. They were all brilliant. College was tough but doable for them and a few of them knocked it out of the park. Top of the class in grades, they wrote great papers, understood the math, and were able to turn this into practical applications on projects they worked on. That was not me, I struggled with school and worked very hard to barely get above a 3.0 GPA in college.
When I Compare I Become Blind
When I started this pattern of comparison I became blind, blind to the realities of my own talents and skills. I thought my skills didn’t matter. If these talented people I knew were so good in school, at sports, at building and making stuff, and I lacked in these areas what could I contribute? I would compare and lose sight of my own ability to contribute.
Instead of seeing my skills and talents, in my mind, they would be in the shadow of others. So why try? If you always lose at a sport or never get the promotion and are passed up by others why stay motivated?
This is exactly why comparing myself to others is my own worst enemy. When I compare I quit or I don’t try very hard. I don’t see the value I can add. If I know I can’t measure up to their skill or talents it is difficult to stay motivated. I’m no Stephen Curry!
When I Stop Comparing I Can Contribute
I may never be as good at basketball as Stephen Curry but I can sure learn a lot from him and get better. Better still, if you actually know the person you are comparing yourself to what if you supported them and contributed to enhancing their talent?
When this simple idea came to mind I realized how easy this is and that I am already doing this. In the workplace, I collaborate with coworkers to help them on a project or an assignment. In the home, as soon as Haleigh or Annaliese start to show interest or skill in something I support them in it. I contribute to their skill by handing them crayons to color with or watercolors and a brush to paint.
When I began to be less selfish about my own skill and desire to be known for my talents and supported others, the comparisons totally changed.
Let The Comparison Be A Call to Action
Don’t get me wrong, I will always compare. It’s in my nature. But now I see the comparison as a call to action rather than this unmotivating frustration. Watch the Bruno Mars video again, was Bruno the only person performing? Did anyone else play a role besides the singer?
His talent would be wasted if his buddy next to him didn’t sing with him and support him and more to the point, without the audience he would have no place to display his talent to inspire others.
Sometimes like in the video, I am the cheerleader and sit in the audience to support, other times I am the backup singer, at other times I can be the sound tech, and on rare occasions I will be the singer. But in every case when I compare I take action instead of feeling sorry for myself. I avoid going blind and can contribute in a meaningful way.
When You Compare, Contrast
Another great lesson I have learned is the power of compare and contrast. I must be comparing for a reason and when I contrast myself to the other person I see how they are different. And if I want to gain skill like they have, I can learn from them and emulate them. Their God-given talent and earned skill give me a basis to contrast my own talents and skills.
Now I take this attitude of comparison and contribute directly to their talent, I can take action in my own life to my benefit and others, and I can contrast their skills and talents with mine to help me grow and improve.
Where do you find yourself comparing?