You know that feeling when you are starting on a new goal and you see someone else in a similar situation having much more success than you? Maybe it causes you to feel hopeless, defeated, or just overall depressed that you’re not on the same level.
In that moment, you are taking your beginning and comparing it to someone else’s middle.
This is something that many of us do, and when you're beginning a new goal, it can be easy to look at others and compare yourself to them.
People often do it to determine how well they are doing in life and base their personal value on that. However, that usually doesn’t lead to feeling too good about yourself. Plus, who actually wants to judge themselves in a negative way? While it can be good to spot your weaknesses to help you grow, feeling like you are inadequate, unsuccessful, unlucky, and more is the type of negativity that can cause you to lose sight of your goals, lead to depression, and more.
Comparison really is the thief of joy after all.
However, many of us are still falling into the negative mindset of comparing ourselves to others.
I remember when I first started blogging, and I would read these other bloggers' income reports, and I just thought what was going on was nuts.
I was reading income reports where people were earning $1,000, $20,000, and $50,000+ a month.
To me, that just seemed insane. I had just found out that you could make money online (I had no idea!), and making that kind of money just seemed completely unattainable for me.
My goal wasn't to ever make $100,000 a month, or even $20,000. I just wanted to start by making an extra few hundred dollars here and there, and $1,000 a month was my stretch goal – I didn't even think that could happen.
But, that's because I was comparing my beginning to someone else's middle. I didn't think about how long it took them to get to where they were – I thought they were lucky.
However, once I stopped letting that negative mindset take over, stopped focusing so much on others and instead on myself, my income grew, and I realized that anything was possible. And, I used their success as motivation for my own.
Now, nearly seven years later, I receive a lot of emails from the same kind of person I was at my beginning. These are people looking to meet their own goals with blogging, many haven’t been doing it for too long, and are feeling unhappy about their progress.
So, whether you are building a blog, creating financial goals, working towards your dream job, thinking about early retirement and more, here are ways to stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle.
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Remember that everyone has a beginning.
Close your eyes, and mentally take inventory of all the things you have achieved. These can be big life goals, like a job, a relationship, lasting friendships, graduating from college, reaching a savings goal, and more. Or, they can be smaller things, such as getting up early to work out, creating a weekly budget, finishing a good book, making a healthy meal, etc.
Each one of these things had a beginning.
If you can remember back to that starting point, some of them were probably easy to start and follow through on, but some may have left you feeling scared or uncertain. And, we all have different circumstances when starting on a new goal. Some of us have more experience in an area, more time, help from friends or family, or even just luck.
Everyone’s beginning is different, but we all have one. And, the one thing they all have in common is that the possibilities for your success are endless when you focus on achieving your goals, not immediately matching someone else’s success.
Find motivation, not negativity.
When beginning on a new goal and looking at the success of others, it’s important to find motivation, not the negativity that comes from comparisons. Looking up to others and having a mentor can be great and very motivating, but you want to be careful and not compare your beginning to someone else who may have been in the game for years longer than you.
You have to remember that not everyone is at the same place – some started years before you, and others may be years behind you. What everyone else is doing doesn't matter, though, so don't let that make you feel less important, less successful, or unsatisfied. Instead, you need to look at their success as motivation to continue to improve.
Negative feelings due to comparison can lead to:
- Debt, such as when you're trying to keep up with the Joneses and buy the same expensive things that other people are buying.
- A feeling of defeat, like when you feel that you aren't as good as someone else.
- Unhappiness, in that the process of comparing yourself to others is never ending.
- A waste of time. If you spend all of your time comparing yourself to others, you will never have enough time to do what you really want. Comparing yourself to others can take valuable time and moments away.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and while you may think someone else may be lucky, remember that they are probably looking back on their life and are amazed at what they have accomplished.
So, instead of getting discouraged at your beginning, find motivation in the success of others, the things you’ve already achieved, and the endless possibilities ahead of you.
Focus on making your dream a reality.
Now, I know that just telling you to stop comparing yourself to others is easier said than done. In today's world, with social media and how everything seems to be on full display for the world, it is easier than ever to compare yourself to others.
But, you need to stop doing it in a negative way.
By doing so, you'll be able to move on with your life, reach your goals, be happy for others, and more.
Sure, you may not be able to reach a goal as quickly as someone else or it may require more hard work, but that doesn’t mean it will be impossible for you.
Instead of comparing your path to those around you, here are some actions you can take to focus on making your dream a reality:
- Realize why you are stuck in the game of comparison. You should think about why you feel the need to compare yourself to others, and think of how that may be impacting you. By realizing these things, you'll be able to move forward and stop wasting your time with comparisons.
- Don't minimize other's accomplishments. To make yourself feel better, you may justify someone else's success by thinking “oh, well they had so-and-so, so that is why they're successful and I'm not.” You don't know what path someone else took to get where they are – no matter how much you think you know about their life. Instead of feeling jealous or like it's a competition between you and whoever you are comparing yourself to, you should just be happy for the success of others. Don't let their accomplishments make you feel like you can't reach your goal as well.
- Be motivated, not competitive. Like I said earlier, instead of feeling jealous or competitive when comparing yourself to someone else, you should instead turn that emotion into inspiration and/or motivation. The next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone, you could think about how you could possibly do something similar (only if that's what you truly want to do, of course). You can use their achievements as inspiration for your own life and goals.
- Get off social media. If you find yourself feeling jealous or negative when comparing yourself to others on social media, then you may want to take a break from it until you figure out how to turn that self-doubt into inspiration. This way, you can stop comparing yourself to others.
Last, but most important of all, accept yourself and be happy with who you are.
Many people find themselves comparing themselves to others because they feel unlucky or sad about their situation.
Everyone has something that might make them sad, angry, scared, etc., and I understand that in some circumstances it can be quite difficult to see the positive or be happy for yourself.
However, no matter how life may be going for you, I believe that a positive outlook can help improve your life. It’s all about being grateful for what you already have.
Being negative causes limitations. If you think you cannot do something, then is likely that you won’t. Negative thoughts can make you feel stuck, they can make you feel like there is no way out of your problems, and that you have zero options.
On the other hand, being positive through self-acceptance can help you realize that you are able to do things, that you are in control of your life, and that little things will not kill you. Being positive will also help you move on and better deal with stressful situations.
I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors. Remember, role models are great, but don't let someone else's success make you feel less about your own path.
Are you guilty of comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle? Has it held you back?
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