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Why comparisons set you up for failure

October 11, 2012

In business, one needs to analyse the competition as a benchmark against how well you’re doing.  That’s business.  What about life?

Constant comparison with others is a guaranteed way to decrease your wellbeing over time.  The much-beloved poem Desiderata sums this up well:

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

In his book “Failure Is An Option”, Australian author Terry Robson says the following:

“In the end what is irrefutable about comparison is that it is illogical.  How can the mystery of one person’s experience be held up against the mystery of another?  Lives and the people who live them are so diverse and intricate that to even begin to compare is fatuous.”

While comparisons can help with evaluation, goal setting, and learning, too much of it can create jealousy, fear, lost opportunities, and be harmful if coming from a place of self-doubt, Robson writes.

What do you think?

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