People watching……admit we love to do it. I was just in Las Vegas last week and you can’t help but watch people there. There is nothing wrong with looking at other people and their lives, if there was Facebook wouldn’t be that successful…it made friendly stalking acceptable. However, it created more capacity for comparison. Comparison isn’t new, it is human nature to compare others to ourselves and vice versa. In the past, the comparison was limited to what we can physically see and restricted to the people we saw in our neighborhood and at our jobs. However, with the introduction of social media we are almost drowning in comparison. We aren’t just comparing ourselves to the people we see in our every day lives, we are now comparing ourselves to our 357 plus friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There is no escape from it.
Let me tell you that comparison is the Regina George of your life and she is a total b$tch. I speak from personal experience on this. As soon as you think that you are making strides, feeling happy with your life, she shows up in her bunny costume and knocks you flat on your ass. Then she gets in your head and next thing you know you are on your couch in your pajamas endlessly scrolling social media and thinking everyone’s life is so much better while you drink a box of wine. Pity party! Table of one! Right here!
So, what does this have to do with wealth and success? Everything!! The current perception of success and wealth is having lots of money, shiny toys and grand vacations. Ask yourself this question…is that MY idea of wealth and success? Sure…all those things are nice but when you dig down deep, will it make you happy? If you have the same fancy car and yearly vacation to Hawaii as your co-worker will it make you happy? Or would you rather camp under the stars with your family in your used tent trailer? Now I am not saying that it is wrong to want the fancy car and trips to Hawaii, hell I want to go to Hawaii one day. It is only wrong if you are doing it because of comparison. We must be especially careful because comparison can lead to jealousy. If comparison is Regina George then jealousy is Gretchen Wieners, they are inseparable and dangerous together. So how do we shift from this default comparison mindset? You need to take some time, step back and ask yourself these three questions.
How do I want to feel?
I went through this amazing program earlier this year facilitated by Joanne Bourgault called The Desire Map (created by Danielle Laporte). It took me through a process of finding out how I wanted to feel in my life and from there using those core desired feelings to help with decision making. For example, one of my core desired feelings is content. I know what you are thinking…content? You only want to be content? Yes, because I got so wrapped up in comparison and moving to the next goal as quickly as possible to be considered successful that I wasn’t enjoying my life. So, when trying to decide I stop and ask myself will this make me feel content?
What is my idea of success and wealth?
If you view success as having nice things because you were born to drive a BMW and own a mansion and deep down that will make you happy then go for it. Don’t let anyone stop you. However, if you view wealth and success that way because it is what everyone else has then you won’t be happy even if you achieve it. I used to think that I wanted to always have a fancy car, a giant mansion overlooking the river and a lakefront cabin. I realized that I much prefer to travel then to own all that, so my car is 6 years old, our house is near the river but not a mansion and we have a used tent trailer so that we can visit all sorts of different locations. And I am okay with this, in fact because I can do these with my family and friends I think I am successful and wealthy.
Why are you doing what you are doing? Is it because your parents told you that you needed to be a doctor to be successful? Is it because all your friends have three kids? This reminds me of arguments with my mom when I was clearly doing things to fit in with cool kids, she would ask “If they all jumped off a bridge, would you?” My immediate response was yes because then I would be cool and isn’t that what every 13-year-old girl wants? Now my reaction is the opposite, I wouldn’t jump off the bridge because quite frankly I am afraid of heights and I don’t care how cute that boy is I am not getting anywhere near that ledge.
In the end, you need to figure out what you view as your success story. You may not want my life and idea of success and I may not want yours, the important thing is that you are living yours and no one else’s.
What are some of the ways you struggle and deal with comparison? Share your story in the comment section.
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