In this episode we break open the topic of comparison; when one’s puts so much energy into comparing self to things like others, celebrities etc. We want to begin with a quote by Teddy Roosevelt where he said,
“Comparison is the thief of joy!”
We believe that to be so very true.
What Roosevelt is saying is that joy comes when you are authentically you. That’s why it’s such an important thing. But when I’m looking to someone else, when I’m comparing myself constantly, I don’t go within, I don’t go to my best self. There is a quotation from Desiderata. It says,
“As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others. Even the dull and ignorant, they, too, have their story”.
Desiderata goes on to say that if you compare yourself with others, you will become vain and bitter.
As human beings for some reason we appear to be hardwired to compare ourselves to others. And we do it all the time, day and night, on money, possessions, cars, fashion, shape of our body, popularity etc.
For some people it’s almost constant. And the thing about it is that it means you’re not walking to the beat of your own drum. It can be really negative when it’s not linked to a goal. Comparison when one element of life that leads to you bettering yourself can be good. So, for example, in a competitive sport environment, know your competition and compare yourself, so you know how to bridge the gap. But comparison is bad when you don’t have a goal in mind and you’re not aligned to your own congruent self.
Comparison when you are goal-less other than trying to be like someone else is a whole journey of not being real, of being actually false. It’s like you’re building up some sort of a myth and you’ve got a goal which is not actually you, it’s somebody else. So you’re constantly going, I want to be like that person. I want to have that expectation. I want to live by that standard – and you do it all such that you’re constantly going from self and the other becomes your internal benchmark and not your own authentic self.
What you tend to do is, there’s a dual edge sword to what’s really going on around comparison. One is you say to yourself, well, if I had that idea that people would think of me like this, they would change their impression of me or my reputation. So what you’re worried about is actually what people think about you. You’re basing that on a myth or a fault that’s in your courage. You’re also concerned about what you think about yourself. If say this, well, I’ve got that car, I’ll feel better about me. Or if I’ve got that house or have I got that job title, or I’ve got that body shape, what will I think about me?
And then every time that happens, when I’m looking outward, constantly, I’m gonna be putting my own self down, I’m gonna be jealous. I’m gonna be competing, I’m gonna be blaming myself. I’m gonna have a victim sense of my own self.
Now, sometimes we compare ourselves to people that are really quite awesome at what they do or you’ve got a friend who’s had a fantastic career and you say, wow, you compare yourself to them. That can be ok but if it leads to a jealousy around that we have a problem. We have to recall how hard they worked to achieve their goals. What you’re really not doing is honouring how hard it is or the journey they’ve gone on to get there. So you cheapen their position and cheapen their achievement, but then you also don’t really accept the terms and conditions for success.
It’s almost as if you’re seeing this person out there that you are comparing and it’s a bit of an illusion. Because they are there walking their particular journey, walking to their particular drum. They’ve worked hard to achieve that particular space. So your focus is on them and their end goal rather than their journey to actually achieve that, which is an invitation for you to walk your journey.
Why would you even want it? Let’s talk about the different things you can compare. First of all, you can compare yourself to your friends and your peers. This is more what we’re talking about before about positions, career, all that kind of stuff. But what happens here in the moment is you can get a real arrogance to yourself when you’re comparing to other people on the journey they’ve been on, you underestimate them and you overestimate your own ability to get there; they have done the hard yards.
So often when you focus on someone else, you make some really poor, poor choices. You do stupid things in the short term, because the person you’re comparing yourself has done something similar and without doubt, you’re going to wake up that next morning feeling bad about yourself.
There’s a process in high performance when you learn something very quickly called modelling. It’s where you model someone who is a very high performer and you try and replicate their performance. Now, one of the keys here is to understand the patterns or the process or framework or the things I do without taking on their way, so to speak. You admire someone – you respect them – you model yourself on their patterns but you are not comparing your journey and goals and theirs; you are not wanting to become them. It’s one thing to actually learn from somebody as compared to comparing yourself with them constantly.
When are try to ‘become them’ in achieving a goal you make these crazy short term decisions and that might be a certain career move, taking on a certain job. It might be buying the car you shouldn’t buy it because you can’t afford it. It could be anything like that. It could be having a certain discussion or saying something because you’re just trying to be someone who you’re not.
At this time in our lives our TV’s are full of these reality TV shows. That’s one thing that really annoys Grego and Pricey; it’s this false, fake world and it’s the perfect body, the perfect relationship, the perfect life. Now, we all know that doesn’t exist but it feeds into the weak persona, it creates this crazy dream that I then chase, as distinct from the real hard yards journey to be the best me that I can be. Learning on my journey, sure, having other people I’m going to learn from – sure. Learn from self and others and focus on the journey not the goals as an end in themselves. Not Putting the focus on necessarily the goal as an end itself, but the actual journey and what I learned from it.
The second thing we compare ourselves to and with is to our own dreams and expectations of where we’re meant to be. While comparing your friends, peers and celebrities is one thing. The one that can undermine us is when at a deepest self esteem level, is when we haven’t achieved what we thought we would achieve in life. Now, you might be 25 years old or when you were 25 you thought, “Oh, you know what I want to be a CEO of a big company or I want to be an actor or I want to be …!” And you totally underestimate what that would take. Alright? Or You just don’t get the luck or you don’t get that break or you don’t do what it takes along the way. And then you’re 40 or 35 or whatever age you are and you’re not there. And you say to yourself, wow, I’ve wasted 10, 15 years of my life.
Why am I where I am? And it’s that Marianne Williamson quote,
“It’s not that we’re inadequate. It’s that we are powerful beyond measure.”
That’s the greatest fear in life.
As we get older we discove
r that so many of this type of comparison is focussed on the ‘whats’ of our lives; our goals. We all achieve great things; great what’s. But it’s who have I become on the actual way that is important. Pricey is now in a space within his life where he’s more and more at peace with WHO he is and he is increasingly not comparing himself with others. When you get that sense of ‘who’ you become happy in your own skin and you know you are marching to your own drum. As you do this different sorts of goals begin to appear.
The key piece here is when you are comparing to friends, peers, dreams, expectations, celebrities, it’s all a myth. It’s so easy to dream of a future or dream of being someone else or like something or have something. But none of that really is true. There are goals and you want to have goals and you want to have vision and dream. We’re huge advocates of that. Sometimes, we create those in a way that they are so far beyond what is possible or not congruent for us. You gotta be really careful about that.
You’ve got to trust yourself. You’ve gotta have those spaces of quiet. This theme of reflection and awareness is one of our constant themes, but is so, so true. It’s when you are still and quiet and aware, you can hear your own true voice. When you hear your own voice, trust it. It will lead you onto a journey. Think of a guy like David Pocock, he’s a great Australian man, a rugby player. But whenever you hear him speak, there’s a sense of his being happy just to be him and he’s made some hard calls, his stance on the environment and relationships and commitment; he has made many tough calls but is so at peace with who he is. He just has this aura, “I’m me and I’m happy to be me”.
It all comes back to what are your principles and what are your values in life. If you’re not clear on what you believe, what are your ten commandments for life? What is most important to you in this world, that only you believe to be truer than anyone else? If you haven’t spent the time doing that, then you haven’t really connected your behaviour, your goals, your vision to what is your core, what is your kind of drum? Because you’re going to play a drum that is different to everybody else on this planet. And that’s what makes it beautiful.
When you’re not clear about your beliefs, your values, your you, you’re gonna go from pillar to post. You’re going to go from one fad to the next. You’re going to go from one person you’re comparing yourself to – and sure enough, six months later there’s someone else you’ll compare yourself to. You’ll never be happy.
Your own self. So who am I? What do I believe? What do I feel? Let’s become our best selves. The litmus test, the ultimate thing is do you have a sense of freedom? You actually grow in this sense of I’m me. I’m happy to be me and it’s a beautiful space. If you’re gonna compare to other people, ask, here’s the key question – “Now, that person’s got something and I think or they’ve done something that is great, what can I learn from them?” That’s the key thing. Don’t go for, I want what they’ve got. Go for what can I learn from that person?
That’s only a simple, kind of a nuance there. But, it’s a really important one. So you’re putting the power not onto them. You’re claiming your own power. There’s an openness and a willingness to then actually learn. So you know thyself. You grow thy own self. Your brothers are there beside you.
Pricey and Grego