In a society of constant comparisons, we often grossly misjudge our true worth as an individual – either by over or underestimating our own capabilities and qualities. This is because all too frequently, we don’t possess the self-awareness to make insightful or objective judgments when it comes to ourselves.
As humans, we instinctively compare ourselves with others; with siblings and peers as we grow up through childhood and adolescence and then with our colleagues at work and in social circles during adulthood. In many ways, this is perfectly natural. It’s human instinct to be aware of others and their strengths so that we can benchmark our own chances of survival and avoid potential threats. As we’ve evolved, these comparisons have become more sophisticated – from the ‘can that person run faster than me and therefore catch the animal to eat / evade danger’ to complex social hierarchies ingrained in our modern day world.
A Society Of Comparisons
From early on in our lives, our performance is graded and compared with others in the school environment. It’s therefore only natural that we continue to make comparisons with those around us as we enter the workplace as an adult. But whilst comparisons may come from an innocent and often subconscious instinct, sustained comparisons can be damaging, particularly in the workplace: bitterness, envy, superiority complexes, obsessions with titles and status are all consequences of comparing ourselves with others that can erode workplace relations and create an innately unhappy workplace.
The main issue at play is that we often grossly misjudge our true worth as an individual – either by over or underestimating our own capabilities and qualities. This is because all too frequently, we don’t possess the self-awareness to make insightful or objective judgments when it comes to ourselves. This leads to misguided comparisons with others whereby we create unrealistic or unfair expectations of what we think we need to achieve in order to be deemed ‘successful’, where we distort what success means based on a benchmark that someone else has set. We focus in on certain areas not cutting the mustard, without remembering the many other qualities we possess as individuals that make us a whole and complete being. In comparing ourselves with others, we can forget our own strengths and lose the uniqueness of ourselves as individuals, eroding self-confidence and making us reluctant to take chances because we lack the self-belief to make positive changes in our own lives. And if we stop taking chances, we quickly become stuck in a rut, our potential dwindling.
Take age for example, a quality that is frequently lauded as a measure of success but over which we have no control because we all age, day-by-day, year-by-year. We don’t choose when to be born or how fast to age; it just happens. How often do we read about someone becoming the youngest ever CEO, or the youngest ever graduate to make a million? Or at the other end of the spectrum, an octogenarian running marathons or outpacing colleagues 50 years younger? The obsession with age as a marker of success is often irrelevant (isn’t it the achievement itself that matters?) and misleading as there is usually little context for that person’s path to success. It’s also inherently unhelpful: if you plan your life against age-based goals and then miss one, what happens next? No-one can turn back the clock and have another go. The moment is gone, leaving you feeling deflated and demotivated. You can quickly become obsessed with timescales and overlook the importance or value of the actual goal you have in mind which can result in all sorts of mixed messages and questionable motivation.
The Unique Context Of You
It’s time to take a step back, stop drawing constant comparisons and achieve your own goals and dreams. It’s time to get out of the rut and start living up to your potential. Here at FindMyWhy, we have a tried and tested solution to help you identify the drivers and motivators that are unique to you as an individual, helping you to confidently articulate your strengths and values. Created by our expert team of psychologists, FindMyWhy is a personal purpose project that will revolutionise the way you see yourself, unwrapping your natural aptitudes and interests so that you can plan your path to professional fulfilment. It will also detail how you are perceived by others, and how you react in certain situations so that you can build your self-awareness and grow in confidence. When you understand your own strengths and abilities, you can predict how you perform in certain contexts and can use this to your advantage.
FindMyWhy begins as an online questionnaire which generates bespoke reports tailored specifically to you, producing informed and relevant guidance in an accessible format. You can then choose to take the process a step further by purchasing one of our detailed support packs relevant to your particular area of interest, including how to re-build your confidence and live life to the full.