Comparative Success

People are successful on a daily basis.  Some of us are successful at everyday things, and some of us are successful at every once in a while things.  We can do a lot.  Much more than we give ourselves credit for.  If left to our own spheres of influence, we might feel pretty good about ourselves.

But as social creatures desperately seeking connection, both personal and virtual, we can’t help but take notice of others.

We’ve made it an art to look over our shoulder, without letting on that we’re looking over our shoulder.  
We’re all just perennially browsing.  
No harm in that.

Except when we judge what we have by what we don’t.

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Perhaps because it’s so accessible, perhaps because we’re not sure what good is unless someone else makes note of it, again and again we willingly fall into this trap of comparison.

I’m not sure how to avoid it.  I admit that freely.  But when I do fall into a funk that makes me feel a bit less-than, here’s how I get out of it:

1.  Recognize you don’t know the whole story.  There’s always more to it than what’s presented.  Somehow acknowledging a big question mark exists help you abandon the head game.

2.  Redefine context.  Narrow your focus to yourself and what you’re doing.  A minute ago you were pretty happy with that.  Let someone better show you the way to ‘next’.  

3.  Remember your values.  You like working towards a goal, remember?  Be grateful that there’s still somewhere else to go.

4.  Treat envy as envy.  Jealousy is ugly and poisonous.  Don’t pretty it up.  Admit it and get over it.

5.  Find an independent measure of your own success.  When nobody is around, what are you proud of?  What do you look forward to doing?  There’s a purity in practicing that.  Use it to reset.

It is said that “the highest form of intelligence is observation without judgement”.  Getting smarter only leads to being happier if you use what you learn to change a troublesome perspective.

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