Are you dooming yourself by playing the comparison game?

Balance is a myth. Aim for dynamic equilibrium, instead.The noun “compare” derives from the Latin roots com, meaning “with,” and pare, meaning “equal.” This would lead you to believe that comparing two people (or activities or achievements) involves looking at equals.

Yeah, right.

The reality of comparisons is that, almost inevitably, someone or something comes up short: She’s stronger. He’s more handsome. That company’s more successful.

Comparison as a way of judging your success is an exercise in crazy-making.

However, if you can compare your results to another’s from a place of emotional neutrality and lack of judgment, a comparison can serve you well. How so? Because when you’re not trying to prove anything (e.g., “I’m better than she is”), it’s easier to see where both you and the other person got good results. This, in turn, enables you to learn from another’s success and incorporate their smart activities into your own effective work. You don’t let a fragile ego tempt you into ignoring or downplaying their results. Instead, your confidence in your own abilities allows you to learn from others.

What’s been your experience playing the comparison game? Have you had any long-term positive results as a result of doing so? Or have you done your best to walk away from comparisons?

(BTW, thanks to DonkeyHotey for posting the unbalanced scales in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)

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