Become your best self…

“One of the marks of excellent people is that they never compare themselves with others. They only compare themselves with themselves and with their past accomplishments and future potential.”

Brian Tracy

Comparison can be such a slippery slope, it can far too quickly turn into an exercise of jealously and envy. All that really matters is making the most out of the gifts and talents that we have been given and using them to their fullest potential. Anything less diminishes God’s intent and purpose for which He created us. Seek growth not by comparing to what others have achieved, but what you could be on “your best day.” Then go make it happen.

Use the right fuel…

“If the grass looks greener on the other side… Stop staring. Stop comparing. Stop complaining. Start watering the grass you’re standing on.”

Angel Chernoff

This seems to be a harder practice than ever in today’s social media driven world. Comparison is the standard of the day when everything we see online is someone else’s “best self” and not a picture of true reality. The real challenge comes when we carry this “comparison bias” into our daily lives. It doesn’t just happen when we are on Facebook or Instagram, that mindset carries forward into the rest of our daily life experiences.

This bias happens subconsciously and shifts our thinking from “what am I doing to grow and improve where I am” into “why don’t I have what XYZ person has?” Even with all the social media influence in our world today comparing what we have to others isn’t a new phenomenon. Teddy Roosevelt coined the phrase that “comparison is the thief of joy” and Mark Twain wrote “comparison is the death of joy.” So how do we break free from this great sucking vortex that pulls us down and away from what really matters?

Stop looking… Start by minimizing those external comparisons that trigger the comparisons. Instead of turning outward, turn inwards. Personally I have found that the single best mechanism to ward off comparison bias in my own life is the practice of writing a daily gratitude journal. Writing down every day the things that I am thankful for serves as an amazing reminder that my life is incredibly rich and extremely blessed. That becomes the fuel that helps me to see where I need to roll up my sleeves and go to work to fully leverage those gifts and blessings instead of just complaining about what has happened to me. It changes how you think about things that happen in life. Instead of happening to you, they happen for you.

Comparison is death. Gratitude is joy. Which one do you want to use to fill your gas tank of life?

Build confidence internally, not externally…

“Confidence isn’t thinking you are better than everyone else, it’s realizing that you have no reason to compare yourself to anyone else.”

Maryam Hasnaa

What is it that you can honestly say you do well, and with great joy and competency, that you don’t feel the need to compare yourself to anyone else?

When you find this, and are comfortable with being quietly competent without the need to compare yourself to others in a fashion that diminishes their skills and gifts, you have achieved what I define as confidence.

So much of our world today is built around the need to prove ourselves better than others. That is the antithesis of confidence in my mind. I would strongly argue that if you feel the need to do ANYTHING that puts you in a position to be dependent on either the “likes” of others, or in a position that directly puts others down, that you are lacking in true confidence.

So how do you achieve confidence in a world that is built on comparison to others? Find what brings you joy, that which you do well, and that you can do in a manner where the only comparison is within yourself and your desire to grow and improve. Confidence is built internally, not externally.

Compared to what?

“The fastest way to kill something special is to compare it to something else.”

Craig Groeschel

Do you remember that thing that you dreamed about forever, saved up for years? Perhaps it was a new car, a new house or a new apartment. Maybe it was the new role at your work or a job at a new company, or even a new relationship. It was SPECIAL!

Then something happened. Somehow that thing that was bright and shiny and special lost its luster. It wasn’t special anymore, in fact, it became just like everything else, just a part of the background of life and a new bright shiny object took its place.

Why does this happen? How does something that at one time is very special and pursued become something that is easily put aside and taken for granted? Teddy Roosevelt said that “comparison is the thief of joy” and he was so very right. The minute we take the thing that is special to us, and compare it to what others have, or we think that they have, our own thing becomes tarnished. The more we compare, the darker the tarnish becomes.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians that, “But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

How do we ensure that we focus on the gifts we have, and not get lost in the comparison to what we think others have? How do we ensure that our gratitude is focused on the gifts and blessings received? There will always be a desire for more, for new, for something better, and at times that can be okay, but only if you are comparing within and against yourself and not to others.

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