Comparisons sometimes can be really good for you and other times it can be bad. There are people that make comparisons based on jealousy and other negative emotions. These will usually have negative consequences such as making a person feel terrible and lowering their self worth.
Then there are good comparisons. These are when a person wants to improve their life and looks to someone else to understand the gap that they need to close to achieve their goals. Maybe they have a gap in terms of knowledge and experience and once they know what this is then they can create a plan to close the gap.
Using Comparisons to Validate how good you are
Then we have the comparisons that some people make to validate how good they are. There is some good intent here as they want to confirm that they are still great at something. This is a very common type of comparison that happens every day all across the world.
Let’s say that a person is very good at making money. They then compare themselves with someone that is always broke and is the complete opposite of them. When they compare their lives the person that is good at making money gets an ego boost while the person that is broke ends up even more depressed.
But what if this comparison went wrong? If you are the person that is good at making money and you come across a stranger that looks poor to you how can your comparison for an ego boost fail?
Well you do not know anything about this person and appearances can be very deceptive. You are assuming that they don’t know how to make money like you do based solely on their appearance. You don’t really know what their financial position id.
So you think to yourself that you have been right every time in the past so you are going to give the comparison with this stranger a shot and you are feeling confident. But it turns out to be a disaster because the person has a lot more money than you and knows many more money making methods than you do!
How do you react to this? You are in the company of friends and colleagues who are in a state of shock over this. They begin to act warmly towards the stranger because he is their new idol. Do you become bitter and even angry over this? It is very likely isn’t it?
Other Downsides of Validation Comparisons
With a validation comparison there is always likely to be a winner and a loser. It is like a competition and the loser is probably going to be pretty unhappy. In the scenario above the person thought he was going to be victorious and then came crashing down to earth.
If you use the same people for your validation comparisons it will not take long for them to get fed up with this ridiculing and start to avoid you. They will quickly spread the word about you as well. For the validation comparer the world can be a pretty lonely place.
Using validation comparisons rarely move people forward in their lives. They have got to a pint where they are content to wallow in their victories at the expense of others but they are not setting themselves any new challenges and growing as a result.
Comparisons between people are a recipe for unhappiness unless you are the best in the world. Which, let’s be honest, only one person is. Not only are we unhappy but the other people are as well. They are probably comparing themselves to you—maybe you’re better at networking than they are and they’re jealous. At worst, when we compare ourselves to others we end up focusing our energy on bringing them down instead of raising ourselves up.
There is one thing that you’re better at than other people: being you. This is the only game you can really win.