Compared To Who?

As human beings, it’s natural for us to compare ourselves to others.  The way we look, the way we walk, the way we talk, whatever.  I’m not sure you can consciously choose to stop comparing yourself to others nor am I sure it would even be beneficial to do so.

What I do know, however, is that you can decide who to compare yourself to.  Most people make this decision unconsciously and compare themselves to the average person.

But like most unconscious decisions, it’s not the best choice if you want to be successful.  If you compare yourself to the average person you’re setting yourself up for failure.

By comparing yourself to someone that’s 30 pounds overweight, just carrying an extra 10 pounds doesn’t seem so bad.  By comparing yourself to someone that’s depressed, being emotionally numb doesn’t seem so bad.  At least in comparison.

And that’s the problem.  By comparing yourself to average, the average person becomes your standard.  Mediocrity becomes acceptable.

Fortunately, there’s a much better approach to optimizing our natural inclination to compare ourselves to others.  And that’s comparing ourselves to the people we want to become.

At the NFL combine they don’t compare incoming rookies to the average person.  That wouldn’t make any sense.  Under that standard a wide receiver running a 5 second 40 yard dash would actually seem fast.

In reality, scouts compare draft prospects to successful NFL players because that’s the standard they expect their draft picks to meet.

Consequently, if you want to be a successful person you can’t compare yourself to the average person.  You have to compare yourself to the Albert Einstein’s, Steve Job’s, and Michael Jordan’s of the world.

Your work ethic may be light years ahead of the average employee, but comparing yourself to the greats allows you to puts thing and perspective and realize just how much better you could be doing.

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