Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle

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…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 24, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Don't Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else's Middle

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.


Accept yourself.

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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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I do that quite a bit, especially when I first started blogging. It made me really depressed sometimes since I felt like I was getting nowhere.

    On the flipside, seeing other people’s success makes me try harder and feel more motivated to learn from them. It’s not all bad. 🙂

    1. Yes, it’s all about having a healthy balance.

    2. Ahh, I scrolled down just to say this and it’s first comment! I think I do it even more and it’s incredibly silly, not to mention self punishing. It’s also the uncertainty of “ohh, well what’s my ending going to be then?!” ;(

    3. Ramona @ Personal Finance Today

      It’s indeed heartbreaking to see such a difference, but it’s great if you can learn from their success and get motivated. When I see something succeed in something, I am happy, it means there’s money to be made in that ‘area’, so I can earn it too.

      And many people who are successful are also willing to give you at least some pointers. I’ve helped a lot of people become successful freelancers and, while I get nothing from it, I’m always willing to give a hint to those who need it 😉

  2. Every point you made here is great advice. I’d like to add one thing. Use the other person’s middle as a motivator. Michelle and this blog are an inspiration to a newer blogger like myself. You have shown what’s possible. I’m not going to compare my results today to yours. I will keep them in mind as the reach goal though. I’ll follow successful people and try and learn from what they’ve done right. Then I’ll take those lessons and I’ll try to be successful myself.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly what I say in the article – it’s all about a healthy balance.

  3. Betsy

    I feel like I’ve been seeing this sentiment a lot lately and I’m wondering if I’m supposed to be learning something haha. I feel like I’ve been hustling a lot the past couple of years and nothing seems to be clicking. It’s very frustrating and not comparing is so difficult. I think I need to work on all of these!

  4. People who are jealous of others such as employer narcissists will often say and do things to try and bring down the person they target. Little do they know they’re building that person up spiritually they’re plotting against. Narcissists also try to make the targeted person feel less than them and others they employ by talking down to them in front of everyone and denying pay raises. Little do they know they deplete their own spiritual net worth and steal from themselves, indirectly allowing the person they’re trying to brown down to always be “1 step ahead of them.”


  5. Dyana – A Debt Free Journey

    I’m completely guilty of comparing myself to other bloggers, but remembering how far I’ve come does help to ward off the bad energy. It’s so easy to get caught up in someone else’s success that you forget your own!

  6. Heather

    Your post was timely for me – thank-you! I’m not so much comparing but I’ve been at it a few months and it’s harder than I thought to get readers. I will keep at it though! Thanks again for the great post!

  7. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for this post. It was something that I needed to read to keep my spirits up!

    I loved absolutely everything you wrote here… once we compare (and I know it’s natural to do that), we would feel like it’s the end of the world. That’s why I just like to focus on myself, my goals, and what I need to get done. But at the same time, look at other’s success as an inspiration.

  8. Thanks for your post! It came at the perfect time

  9. I struggle with comparison especially in the blogging world. I am inspired by the success of other bloggers, but I cannot help but wonder when will it be my time? I just keep pressing forward and I create new blogs everyday. Eventually I will see the income.

    1. You just have to keep pushing on!

  10. Jo

    Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement. 🙂 I’ll keep them in mind because they’re not just for our blogging journey, but for how we live our lives.

  11. Man you read my mind, I was thinking about writing an article on the similar topic. 😊

  12. Tiffany Domena

    You’re absolutely right Michelle! I’ve achieved many goals I’m proud of, but I never could have gotten there with the comparison mentality. I made my first $20 this month with affiliate marketing and I’m stoked about it even though my goal was $100. I know you are making $50,000 plus from affiliate marketing and that’s motivation for me. Your $50,000 means making money blogging is possible, but my $20 meant to me that “I can do it”, and blogging is possible for me. Now all I need to do is scale and add precision to what I am currently doing. Thanks for the encouraging post and posting your income reports!

    1. Great job! You can definitely do it!

  13. Scott at Making Momentum

    Great, post Michelle! The comparison trait is so true for all walks of life, especially in this day and age with everyone else’s lives on display just a few clicks or swipes of a phone away. Whether it’s income, lifestyle, social status, gadgets, etc. The internal audit of celebrating your own successes and staying focused on what’s important to you is so key.

    I am working on a new post now and a quote I found for that post seems to fit here as well:

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs.

  14. Caitlin

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank You for posting this inspiring article. All of us have achieved something in life that we are proud of so just focusing on what we have accomplished, is motivation that we all can achieve what we put our minds to.

  15. Avian

    I JUST started my blog last night. You are a big inspiration and this piece is so timely, as it has been all I have been doing for the past couple days. Thank you.

  16. I usually get these overwhelming thoughts when I see other blogger’s income / traffic reports. Thanks for inspiring Michelle 🙂

  17. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That line has really provided an incredible perspective for me to view blogging through. Michelle, thank you so much for that golden nugget of advice!

    1. Yeah, I should have made that the title of this article! 🙂

  18. This is awesome and very helpful! Thanks Michelle! 😊

  19. Vijay

    Hi Michelle,

    I am starting out my new blog by doing course of Pat Flynn BYOB Series. But again as mentioned in the post, I compare a lot with the other people.

    But I will not compare any more and will focus on my self.

    Thanks for such a great post and it actually a lifeline for me.


  20. Rebecca

    You are such an inspiration, Michelle! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Last night, I actually had a panic attack. Feeling overwhelmed by the online world of blogging. Feeling like whatever I’m doing isn’t sticking and feeling like a total failure. But, I sat down and read your post, twice and it gave me hope. I appreciate it.

  22. Very encouraging article. If anything, our biggest cheerleader or motivator is our own self. Setting reasonable goals will keep us on track for getting a piece of the “pie” soon. Thanks again….

  23. This content message made me cry, it struck me from the deepest self. Thank you for the great advice and for giving a wonderful thought of wisdom. This opens my mind to realize how wonderful life is. ❤❤❤ I also pray and hope to achieve the things I’m longing to do in my life for myself, my family and for my future with my amazing partner. I just want to be forever happy while I am still living. ❤❤❤❤❤

  24. The Curious Frugal

    This was such a great post to read right about now. I just started my blog and have a handful of pages and posts up that I’m very excited about, but it’s not many since I literally just started. It can be daunting to see the sheer number of posts that long term bloggers have and doubt can start to creep in – how could I possibly write that much??! But I want to focus on one week at a time, one post idea at a time, and go from there!

  25. TTJASI

    Michelle, not sure why my previous comment didn’t get approved, but wanted to echo again that I appreciated the perspective you put into this post.

    Most of the blogs I’ve visited tend to market a very finished product. Yours on the other hand, contains all of your posts back to the beginning, which is very humbling to see, and it’s encouraging to me as I try to develop my own blog.

    It’s hard to feel hopeless with blogging when all you have to compare to are mid-stream or finished products, so it’s awesome to see how your blog has grown.

    Nice post

    1. TTJASI

      Sorry, *EASY to feel hopeless 🙂

  26. Shahla Banu


    You mentioned all the points are very important.We Focus on making your dream a reality don’t bothered about other things.

    I guess we all do that, somewhere we just have to stop and identify if it is actually drawing us down and playing with our confidence. If that is the case, each time something like that happens. I try to manage a diary and see how I can replace that behaviour with something else. Instead of justifying I try to accept something I am not good at and see how I can be good at that. Not that it works all the time, but it certainly makes life a little bit easier and gives me an opportunity to talk to these people who are doing it well and seek their help.

    Thanks for sharing great post

  27. Mr. MFC

    Thanks for such a timely article Michelle. Finding that healthy balance when it comes to comparison is key. For the most part, I like to think I use it as a motivator to keep striving and finding ways to improve on myself. There are moments though when I find myself on the other side and it can be tough to pull yourself out.

    With you as one of my inspiration, a few days ago I just launched my very first blog site. I can’t wait to earn my first penny so I can have my own income report to share with you, just minus several zeroes and commas. 🤪

  28. This is such an important and extremely relevant post.

    In today’s world, we are all constantly in a comparison game. Social media has taken this to a whole new level, and we see everyone’s highlight reels. We see only others results, and not everything that took place before hand to achieve that result. I know I am still guilty of this problem, but I am slowly getting better at it.

    Luckily I have found though that as my families net worth has increased, and we begin to add more 0’s to the end of our financial statements, I care less and less about what others are doing.

    Great post!

  29. Kris

    It’s hard not to compare to others about anything sometimes. It could be social status, career, and blogging. The best ways are like you mentioned, channeling it to make it positive and be a motivational factor. And by figuring out what is best for you and not worrying about what others are doing.
    We should all praise others for their accomplishments not try to one up them.

  30. Really love this post Michelle. It’s a natural human tendency to compare since we’re social creatures at heart. So it’s a constant struggle to push those feelings down.

    Also fully agree with the advice of staying off social media. It’s fully designed to not only be addictive but to force you to compare to others.

  31. Thank you for posting this encouraging post! It is so easy to get caught up in the comparison game. I am guilty of this. It is refreshing and nice to be reminded that everyone , even the most successful people had a beginning too and that we are not alone in this journey!

  32. Thats very true comparison in anyway is bad, but then its human nature and no matter how hard you try it finally comes in between, but thanx for emphasizing on its cons.

  33. Briana

    So true Michelle!

    The comparison trap is bad all the way around. I’ve definitely found myself in low spirits when I swipe through social media or compare. But to prevent that I just take breaks from social media, journal, and practice gratitude. It’s helped me significantly combat that comparison feeling. How do you avoid comparison?


  34. Edgar

    Even though this post is from 2 months ago, this subject is forever. In my experience, I don’t compare myself to someone else. Everyone is made different genetically and behaviorally. What I did from the very beginning of my career and businesses is to think how to get there, make a plan and execute such plan.

  35. Grace

    Thank you for this inspirational article. I’m about to start my blog. I’m excited and overwhelmed at the same time.

    Looking at you and other successful bloggers, I have hope that I will be alright.

  36. Holly

    It’s always good to operate from a perspective of growth as jealousy. I’ve always been that way and get motivated when I see others being successful. Jealousy never does anything useful.

    1. Holly

      Growth as jealousy**

  37. This is truly motivational. I been struggling and this is something that really help me get motivated to keep going. Keel doing a great job. love your articles

  38. Serena

    Loved the way you’ve created this post to motivate each one of us. Sometimes, I too fall victim of comparing my success with others. I guess focusing more on my dreams and accepting my flaws are the way to go.

  39. Neil

    I just started a podcast and I definitely find myself comparing myself to others. I really needed to read this blog post today. Thank you for sharing your story.