#9: Comparing yourself to others leads to a path of destruction

by | Oct 26, 2020 | Podcast

Hello

Welcome back to another episode of We Live to Build, the podcast for entrepreneurs to learn about positive psychology, personal growth and development, growth mindset, leadership, and a lot of other awesome topics! For those of you who are just joining us, I urge you to go back and listen to Episode number 1 first to get an idea of what we are doing here, as well as the About Page at welivetobuild.com/about to listen to my back story. Today’s episode is called “Comparing Yourself to Others Leads to a Path of Destruction”, and the idea came from my fiancée for having a bad habit of comparing herself to other people in her life!


In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • Why it’s dangerous to compare yourself to others

  • How it affects you

  • (and) What you should do instead
We should always strive to focus on the positive, which is why I felt this topic was so important, and we’re going get to get deep into it right now.


Intro

Growing up, everything we see from schools, societies, and parents is comparing to others. The doctor tells your parents that your height and weight are the nth percentile as COMPARED to other children your age. In school, you may be asked to take an IQ test, which compares your ability to understand and solve problems as compared to other people your age. Later on, you are forced to take standardized tests in order to apply for college, which are used to compare you to other students, and getting below a certain number may prevent you from going to the school of your dreams, even if the rest of your application looks amazing. Assuming you go to college and get a degree, you are expected to find jobs that pay an average salary for your career. Do you see now? Your entire life is designed to be a giant comparison of you and other people. But in reality, if we step back and think about it, this is dangerous and unhealthy. Why?

Why is it dangerous

By comparing yourself to others, you will never be happy. If you find out you make less than a friend, you might instantly feel sad or angry. If you weigh more than others in your circle, you might feel insecure when you are around them. If you are shorter than others, especially your life partner, you may feel insecure about being with them. If your friend has a business which started later than you but makes a lot more than you, you may feel jealous. If someone just bought a big house or big car, you may really want to do something to compete with them without realizing they probably don’t even care. My point is, the act of comparing yourself to others is deeply psychologically unhealthy and doesn’t help you become a better person. A study was done that asked people to decide whether they wanted to earn $70k, but their friends earned $50k, or $110k, but their friends earned $140k. 65% of the respondents said they preferred to make the $70k because it was more than their friends! So they were willing to give up a lot of money for no reason just because they didn’t want to make less than their friends!

How it affects you

Obviously this mindset of always comparing to others is horrible for your mind, body, and soul. It can cause you to become depressed, or give up creating the life you want to live, merely because you feel like you can never catch up. Some people even commit suicide because of the pressure. I also noticed with my fiancée, who comes from an entirely different social and economic class than myself, that when we met she was very unwilling to spend any money, but also didn’t make much. After being together with me, she has the same job and makes 2-3x more than she used to, but she also works smarter and harder, and somehow feels this unspoken pressure to keep up with my spending (which I’ve told her many times she shouldn’t do because she’s not making enough to be able to spend and save). She has also developed a bad habit of comparing herself to her clients, who are on average 15-25 years older and in the 1% of earners because they also have multiple global businesses which generate tens of millions each per year. So now you understand there is a problem and how it affects you…

What you should do instead

The absolute healthiest way to live your life is to first forget everything society told you. Okay, you ready? It’s super simple. I’m going to tell you in 3 easy steps.


Step 1. Reflect on who you were 5 years ago until now.

Without realizing it, we are growing and changing all the time. That’s why it’s important to write a journal about your experiences over the last 5 years so you can reflect on it whenever you want. This will allow you to know where you came from, and how far you’ve come to be the person you are today. It will also help you figure out where you want to go next physically, spiritually, financially, and professionally. We call this comparing your past self to your present self.


Step 2. Define 3-5 solid goals for the next 5 years.

Once you have a blurry idea of where you want to go next, create a list of concrete and measurable goals which you can look at whenever you get discouraged, for example: “I want to lose 20 pounds and keep it off for all 5 years,” or “I want to start a business that generates $100,000 USD per month in profit.” By settings these goals, and making them measurable, you can then figure out what you must do in order to get closer to accomplishing those goals. That’s called, figuring out who you are right now, and preparing to compare yourself to the future.


Step 3. Calibrate and reflect over time.

Now create an action plan for how to reach those goals. If you want to lose 20 pounds, maybe you should start putting time and energy into learning about nutrition, exercise, and getting a gym membership so you can start the process of losing the weight. This will require you to develop a routine and make commitments for yourself for when you are gonna go, and how often you’re gonna go, and if you fail to meet those commitments, you will move further away from your goals, no doubt. So over time, you can measure your progress to see if you are getting closer or further, and the only way to do that is to make those commitments, turn it into a routine, and just keep DOING IT. If you want to build a business that generates $100,000 USD per month in profit within 5 years, maybe you should start learning about business, and think about what kind of business you might want to run that you will be passionate about for years to come. Look for mentors, partners, and learn about finances so if you need to, you can get a job right now that pays you enough so you can save 2 years worth of living costs, plus some more to start the business up, so you can survive running a business full-time without fear of going bankrupt in the process. That way, you know you’ll have energy to do it, to build this business that will change your life later on.


Conclusion

All of this is much healthier than comparing to others because now you are able to focus on YOURSELF, and not how you are not as good as other people. By comparing your past self to your present self (step 1), and your present self to your ideal future self (step 2), you can now spend the next 5 years figuring out how to reach those goals, so that in 5 years when you look back at your present self, you’ll be able to create a sense of understanding of who you were and who you became. So if you spend your life with this cycle of who am I today, who am I going to be.. who was I? who am I? who do I want to be?… right? You create this cycle of figuring out how to compare your past to your present to your future, and actually look forward to doing things that make you feel good about yourself, and bring about a deeper sense of happiness in your every day life. If you ever feel yourself comparing to others, just stop listen to this episode again. You know another way to help yourself stop comparing to others?


Meditation!

It’s something that’s been amazing for me, and if you haven’t listened to it yet, episode 3 talks about how Meditation can save your life. If you want to go deeper, I’ve created a free guide for how to get started on meditation at https://welivetobuild.com/meditate. Thank you very much for listening to this episode, I hope you liked it. If you did, please share it with everyone you know, I’m sure everyone could learn something from this. And remember, Entrepreneurship is a Marathon, not a Sprint so take care of yourself every day, so that you can live and love, and have the energy and the passion to run your business, and to invest in your team, and to find a way to appreciate those moments of happiness. Thank you.

About the Community

On the podcast, Sean talks with entrepreneurs about the reality of their struggle to succeed, as well as answering questions from the community, and sharing nuggets of wisdom from his own life.


Discover through these amazing episodes the courage to open your mind, heart, and soul to the world so you can be the best entrepreneur possible, respect the people you work with, and improve the world with your company while not hurting others or yourself in the process.

Sean Weisbrot

Sean Weisbrot

Sean is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor based in SE Asia for over 12 years. He is passionate about Psychology and helping others improve themselves.

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