With so much competition in the world, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel jealous of other people’s success. It’s also perfectly natural to compare yourself to friends and coworkers, though confidence coach Steve Errey says it can lead to the kind of defeatist thinking that keeps you from getting ahead.
In a great Daily Muse post titled “The 3 Most Insane Ways You’re Comparing Yourself to Others—Plus, How to Snap Out of It,” Erry offers tips for overcoming wrongheaded thinking and moving forward with your own career. His strategy involves outlining three beliefs everyone should lose if they want to maintain a healthy, positive mindset.
First up: “Other people have all the luck.” As Errey says, this is a dangerous form of envy because it comes “without recognition of your own capability” and “without effort, with a sprinkling of ignorance.” In other words, other people achieve things not because of luck, but because they work to make them happen, and instead of dwelling on this nebulous concept of luck, you should seek out ways to prove yourself.
And luck isn’t the only thing you’re likely to see yourself as lacking. The second belief, “Other people have something I don’t,” speaks to that sinking suspicion we all get about not being good enough. As Errey says, it’s “crazy” to compare your worst qualities to the best you perceive in others, and while it’s true that some people are more talented than you, some have less skill and ability, and at the end of the day, these things are only as important as you make them out to be.
“It’s one thing to compare avocados for ripeness or bed linens for luxuriousness, but comparing your insides with someone else’s outsides is BS,” Errey says.
Finally, Errey takes on this common lament: “Other people are more successful than me.” Here, he says, the issue has to do with the concept of success. It’s different for everyone, and what’s more, it’s a “moving target” that changes all the time. They key is recognize how you define the word. Do you value working for a team that does great things, or would you rather be your own boss and run a business? Those are just two of the possibilities you might consider.
“Until you define your version of success,” Errey writes, “it will forever remain a comparative concept where others are always more successful than you.”