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Unhappy people compare a lot, and care about the results – Sonja Lyubomirsky

We seem to have this infatuation with comparing ourselves to others. Self-inflicted envy/jealousy.

In most industries, it is standard to measure yourself against the competition (unless you have created a new one). There is the old idiom of Keeping up with the Joneses.

We say:
We want to benchmark.
We want to know if we are getting our fair share.
We want to know if our marketing/sales/discounting/campaigning worked.
We want to know if we are doing a good job.

Look at their success.
Look at their marketing budget.
Look at their web traffic.
Look at how many they sell.
Look at their profits.
Look at their house.
Look at these stats compared to the other stats.
Look at that cute person with that ugly person.
Look at what (I think) she/he earns.
Look at how they handled that.
Look at what they could do.
Look at what they did to us.
Look at their fancy _____ and our ______.
They don’t deserve ______________.

We want to get what they have.

In many companies, there is a ritual of spending inordinate amounts of time explaining what happened last week/month/quarter/year… EVEN if you kicked butt! I understand that it may not be your money or your call but what if the “penalty” for not beating them was different. What if you were instructed to spend that same time that you would on a report, on sales calls or other strategic activity? If it were your money, where would you place your efforts?

Look where you know you should look.
Look in a mirror.
When you are winning, look at them from below. Perspective counts.

When we look at them, we limit our upside potential. When we are happy beating them by 200%, we risk complacency. What if your benchmark is the wrong one? When we copy them because they are more successful than us, we risk not doing it as well as them. We risk missing a step. Consumption of statistics is the bowl of chips before dinner. So tasty but can ruin your appetite.

I did it with my first blog last week. I kept checking views. I was thrilled to reach 400+ because I thought I might only have 4 total for the week. But if I compare to others that have 10s of thousands, I am a very small fish. I felt like I succeeded but if I look at them, I failed. Is there another way that we can measure ourselves besides comparing to them?

Look at them. But only as quick as you look in your rear view mirror.

Have the courage to look ahead. Yesterday doesn’t matter.