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Have you ever wondered if Taylor Swift wishes she were more like Beyonce? Does she sit around studying Beyonce’s latest dance moves so she can do them herself? What about vice versa? Maybe Beyonce is lounging by a pool right now, lamenting that she’ll never write lyrics like Taylor. The reality is that it might happen. The comparison game is an unfortunate part of human nature. While “rock stars” are at the top of their industry, even the real rock stars are human. We would never look at these two amazingly talented, successful, world-shaking women and think, “I just really wish they were more alike.” However, they might. Thankfully, they don’t let it stop them from being who they are. Social Comparison Theory, as psychologist Leon Festinger dubbed it in 1954, suggests that people determine their social and personal worth by comparing themselves to others. Unfortunately, when we do this, it takes away from who we are and what makes us unique and special. Dangers of Comparing Yourself to Others Be honest; you’ve done it. You’ve looked at a friend, colleague, or fellow human and thought, “Why are they doing so much better than me?” It’s natural… but it’s not healthy. When we compare ourselves to others, we experience: Stress/anxiety – When you are constantly looking at what others are doing, you may be tempted to do more and more to keep up with them. Unrealistic Expectations —You can’t be good at everything (and neither can the person you are comparing yourself to). Believing that we should be experts at everything (and probably the first time we do something) will set us up for pain and disappointment. Lack of Motivation – While you need to accept the fact that you can’t be great at everything, this acceptance may backfire and leave you feeling like you can’t be great at anything. This leads to a lack of motivation and drive. Resentment – When you compare yourself to others, you may become angry when you don’t “measure up” to these unrealistic expectations. You may start to look at other people as having done something wrong and be resentful that they’ve achieved something you haven’t. This leads to strained relationships and holding onto unnecessary emotions. Lowered Self-esteem – When you see others as “better” than you, set unrealistic expectations of yourself, and then experience a lack of motivation when you don’t reach them, it begins to erode your self-confidence. Fortunately, the moment you realize (and admit) you are playing the comparison game, you get to change your behavior and stop. How to Stop Playing the Comparison Game If you are ready to stop playing the game, you can take several actions today. Stop scrolling – While social media has its place, we need to be cognizant of what it truly is… curated snapshots of people’s story. People tend to put the best moments of their lives on these platforms: the college graduation, the engagement, the job promotion, the baby being born, etc. What you don’t see are the years of hard work, the lost opportunities, the promotions they’ve been passed over for, the kissing frogs, or the doctor’s visits. Before you think someone is doing “so much better,” consider what it took for them to get there. Or better yet, take a break from the scrolling and focus on you. Identify your strengths—You are great at many things. Your unique combination of skills makes you perfectly suited for something. There is something on this planet that no one can do better than you. And as hard as it might be to accept, there is something you do that makes other people play the comparison game with you. Set goals – Knowing what you are good at (and what you should leave to others), now is the time to set specific goals for yourself. With your skills, abilities, and desires, what would you like to accomplish in the world? Don’t worry about what others are doing. Just focus on what you can contribute. Practice gratitude – You are a rock star in your own right. Celebrate and appreciate who you are and what makes you special. Be grateful that you exist. The world needs you! Get a mentor – Sometimes, you need someone outside of yourself to show you just how special you are and help you avoid falling into the comparison trap. Whether you have a formal mentor or an informal sounding board, find someone who recognizes how amazing you are (even when you can’t see it). Conclusion If you want to turn up success in your career and life, it’s time to put down the playing cards, drop the dice, and stop playing the comparison game. In the words of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” For more tips on leadership, teamwork, and becoming a rockstar, visit https://marvellessmark.com.

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