Whenever I’m with other people, part of me shrinks a little. —Alan Bradley
I’m losing myself trying to compete /
With everyone else instead of just being me —Demi Lovato
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. —Eleanor Roosevelt
Don’t be Intimidated. —Benjamin Hoff, The Te of Piglet
Comparisons are how we learn about ourselves and the world—who we are, what we like, and where we want to go. It’s natural to compare yourself with others, but sometimes you’ll find yourself wanting. Instead of slumping in defeat, learn from your envy. Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you feel yourself shrinking in someone else’s shadow:
Success Isn’t a Zero-Sum Game
Life isn’t a competition for a single prize with one winner and seven billion losers. Others’ successes don’t mean you’ve failed. There’s enough room for everyone to fulfill their potential. How will you shine?
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Greatness isn’t easy and superhuman feats usually aren’t. If you’re feeling disheartened, look closer. Like airbrushed models and sleight-of-hand tricks, some displays aren’t as impressive as they first appear. Others only look easy—usually after years of hard work and sacrifice. Either way, there’s more to the story.
Apples and Oranges
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. So you’re not a Wall Street tycoon or musical prodigy. Maybe you’re eloquent, funny, or stylish—or a math whiz, or terrific with kids. What talents or skills do you take for granted? Chances are, others admire them in you. (And those daunting superstars? They have insecurities, losses, and bad hair days, too.)
Take a Page from Their Playbook
We admire skills, performances, and creations that speak to our hopes, desires, and fledgling identities. So instead of shrinking from success, let these great acts motivate your own. Try some part of them on for size—say, a new perspective or technique. Keep what you like; change what you don’t.
We need comparisons to function and thrive, and it’s natural to compare yourself with others. But let their successes inspire you, not shake your confidence. Reframe your envy. Appreciate your strengths. And use what impresses you to explore your goals, try new approaches, and achieve your own greatness.