Comparison is it a good or bad thing?

Is comparison the thief of joy?

Comparison and why it's not good to compare“Honest gov, I went looking, but the idea was to get inspired.” “Yeh right,” I hear you say! Whether that was really the case or not I feel compelled to make a point. I’m competitive, a high achiever and hands up – yes, I’m guilty as hell for comparing my work to others’. For me, it’s how I stretch myself, improve and measure my progress. It’s the way I was brought up too – at home, in school, university and the workplace.  The problem I have with this approach though, is that whilst I know there are some advantages to it – in terms of advancement, I know how unproductive and destructive it actually is.

[box]Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt TWEET THIS[/box]

It’s so easy to spend time keeping track of what other people are up to, but what a waste of time and energy it actually is. I speak from experience and it’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson.

There’s a saying, isn’t there? “Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you more than you.” ~Unknown

However, in my experience this couldn’t be further from the truth. The problem lies in the fact that by comparing ourselves to others, we just end up judging ourselves.  And, let’s face it – there’s no one worse to judge and more mean a critic!  It doesn’t matter how many people are on your side and cheering you on – if you can’t get on your own side, you’ll never get past go!

So, the real truth of the matter is that there’s never a winner. For the most part we compare ourselves to someone whom we perceive as being better than us, and whether that’s true or not, if we perceive it to be it means we lose every time!

Our minds do want to quantify, to rank and to organize information in order to know where we fit into the scheme of things. So we need to give our minds something to do. I read an article recently where the advice was to redirect the comparison to a past and a present self—and keep the comparison within. However, I completely disagree with this suggestion. We are not the person we were from former years. By continuing with the comparison, we are perpetuating the crime!

So instead, why not learn to accept that we all came in different. There will always be people who are better than us, as they will be those who are not as good. We are growing through life’s experiences all the time. We are not the people we were yesterday, so it’s not right to compare ourselves to that person. We need to avoid the trap of comparison by building and maintaining a positive self-image and rather than comparing ourselves to others or ourselves, it’s better to focus on things that make us feel better about ourselves and our life.

As Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”.

So I challenge you to begin to discover what’s truly important to you. By doing this I guarantee you’ll have more time and energy to devote to your own creative journey and you’ll feel far better about yourself. You’ll be able to look back on those energy-draining feelings of jealousy and inadequacy and instead be able to be inspired by others’ work rather than dragged down by it.

In the comments below, tell me whether you think comparison is a good or bad thing. What has your journey been like so far with it? Do you have any tips or insight you can pass on to us? Let me know and also what action you’ll take as a result of reading this post too. I’d love to hear.

Thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!

With love and gratitude – as always,



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Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security entrepreneur, consultant and speaker who has had a diverse career encompassing art and design; business development; and operations. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own companies and at several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business development solutions. Right now she is writing a book on gender diversity in cyber security and is focused on increasing the numbers of women in the profession.

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