It’s easy to look at other people and think about how successful they are. You wonder how did they get there, and why you’re stuck here. The next thing you knew, you started to compare your weaknesses to their best traits.
It is not fair, you know. Here are some reasons why comparing yourself to other people will not give you any positive outcome.
When you compare yourself to other people, you disregard the differences that you have with them.
If you are a fresh graduate who just finished your bachelor’s, it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself with someone who’s got a master’s degree. If you just started your career, it is not appropriate to compare yourself to someone with five years of experience under her belt.
But it’s not just about educational or professional experience; life experiences count too. If someone with a similar professional and educational background is better than you at something, they probably manage their time better than you are.
Maybe while you were playing games at night, they were practicing their skills. Perhaps while you were on a road trip with your best friends (totally fine!), that person was busy working part-time? After all, everybody has different life experiences. Comparing yourself to others is not comparing apple to apple.
When people say effort, their perception of “putting an effort” might differ from your version of the matter. Why? Because people have various personalities and attitudes. For example, the energy and the will of a hustler would be of a higher standard compared to a freeloader.
So why would you compare yourself to other people? When someone says something is “hard,” do they tell you how much effort they put in? Do you know how serious they were when they were trying to do it?
That’s right. You don’t. You heard something, and you decided not to push further. Because you heard someone say it’s hard. Because you let someone else set the limit for you.
If you feel the need to compare, do it reasonably. Look at where you were last year and how did you get to where you are now. Compare yourself in the present versus the past. What went wrong, and what went right? Feel good if you’ve improved a lot. If not, learn from your mistakes and do better.
You will be able to see how far you’ve gone, and how much you’ve grown. If your life is better by now, you will have a sense of achievement because you know that you did not waste your time all these years.
It’s okay, that’s life. Sometimes you messed up. The most important thing is, you now understand that you have been wasting your time. Think about what you want to achieve next year. I bet you don’t want to feel this way again.
Find something that you want to be good at, stick to it, and enjoy the process. Don’t quit. Remember the goal, to be better than who you were before. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
In another article, I discussed how you only have 3 hours left to spend on a typical day. And to make the most of it, you need to manage your resource better.
Rather than spending your precious 3 hours to compare yourself to other people, it’s better to use it to do something better that would be useful for your future. You can never compare your experiences and effort to someone else’s — it is just not fair. Compare your past and present instead.
Remember, time is always ticking, and you can’t go back.
This article is based on the conversations I had with friends and colleagues who’s experienced the imposter syndrome.