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The futility of comparing ourselves to others

The futility of comparing ourselves to others

The workplace can be a competitive place. With KPIs and targets to achieve, there’s a lot of pressure and intensity when it comes to achieving our goals.

Naturally, a bit of healthy competition is often welcome. Unfortunately, this mutates into jealousy and envy far too often.

The most important thing is that we stay focused on our goals. Measuring ourselves against our co-workers is a complete waste of time.

“How did you go?”

Perhaps it first happened to you in school when you received your report card.

Or maybe it happened later at uni when your grades came out.

In all likelihood, you’ve come across a person who loves to compare their achievements to yours. Sometimes this can be out of genuine curiosity or an actual want to support you, but too often it reflects glaring insecurity.

Your performance is what it is. It is no better or worse because of how John on the desk next to you performed in the same period.

This narrowmindedness is totally detrimental to what should be our positive attitude to work. Envy and gloating do us no favours in the long run.

Losing focus

It’s easy to become distracted when you get preoccupied with someone else’s achievements.

Measuring yourself against the car they drive, the suburb they live in or where they go on holiday takes a lot of time and effort. Ironically, this time could be used to improve your own standard of work.

The “Garden of Statues” parable tells the story of a man who drives himself crazy by trying to ruin his neighbour’s beautiful statues. Long story short, focussing on what someone else achieved and trying to outscore him left the envious man with nothing.

This is a lesson we should all take note of. It does us no good to focus entirely on what others are doing. Ultimately, wasting time by trying to lessen the achievements of others will leave us with nothing to show for it.

Be proud of what you achieve

Because we’re always frantically moving from one task to the next, we often forget to take the time to be proud of what we do achieve.

Self-reflection is usually referred to in the context of when we’ve made mistakes, but it’s just as important to implement it when things go well.

When that happens, find a way to reward yourself. Go out for a nice meal, watch your favourite movie or book a weekend getaway.

With such a heavy focus these days on endlessly striving for perfection and improvement, it’s easy to lose track of when we need to chill out for a bit.

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Self-affirmation will ensure you feel valued within yourself. Trying your best and producing results that reflect that should be sufficient to make you feel satisfied with your output.

That being said, boasting about your achievements will also be unhelpful. No matter how great your performance is, it’s not worth gloating to validate your own insecurities.

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