The Danger of Comparing Yourself to Others

A couple of days ago I received a surprise in my email; a request to connect on LinkedIn from an author of one of my all-time favorite business books! Wow! Not only have I admired and respected this guy for many years, I still quote him on a regular basis.

However, my euphoria quickly became subdued. “Why does he want to connect with me?” I suddenly thought. “What possible value would I have for him?” Without even realizing it, I had started mentally comparing myself to him, and I wasn’t measuring up.

If not careful, comparing yourself to others can be very destructive. It can squash your motivation and sabotage your dreams before you even get started.

Comparing Yourself to Others can Ruin Your Confidence

Comparing yourself to others can cause you to focus your attention on all of your short comings. When making comparisons you tend to measure someone else’s best attributes against your worst attributes. Their success against your lack of success. Everything they seem to be doing right, against the things you are doing wrong. Suddenly you realize you are not as good as they are.

To protect yourself from comparing yourself to others, here are a few things to consider that might minimize its impact.

Nobody is Born an Expert

It doesn’t matter who somebody is or what they are an expert in, the fact remains that at one time in their life they were most likely really lousy at it. A person has to work very hard for years to develop a high level of expertise. It does not happen overnight, and nobody is ever born an expert. Because somebody has already achieved something you desire, you can achieve it as well. They became an expert by paying their dues, and now it may be your turn.

Just a Few Rungs Above You On the Ladder

When you catch yourself comparing yourself to others, imagine yourself climbing a ladder. The person you are comparing yourself may be a few rungs higher on the ladder then you are. They got a head start on you, and they may not even be that far ahead. No big deal.

You may share the same journey as somebody else, but you may just be getting started, and the other person may be in the middle or end of their journey. Comparing yourself to somebody who a few rungs up the ladder is losing proposition and can cause you to bring out your greatest insecurities.

Persist and Do Not Give Up

Be happy for the success and achievements of other people, rather than using that as a reason to focus on what you haven’t achieved. As long as you keep focused, persist, and refuse to give up, you will continue to move yourself further up the ladder. Eventually you will reach whatever you set out to accomplish.
It might take you longer to achieve something then it took somebody else, or it may require more effort on your part. In the end it doesn’t matter, and before long, you might even discover that some people have started comparing themselves to you.


Daryl Murrow

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