The Danger of Playing the Comparison Game

In today’s culture, it’s really easy to fall into the comparison trap. With social media feeding us the highlight reels of everyone we’ve ever know. Advertising showing us all we don’t have. And need… Before we know it contentment escapes us. Leaving us empty and searching for more. But the comparison game is a slippery slope that never takes us to where we want to be. So let’s take some time and talk about it. Drag it into the light and expose it for what it really is.

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This idea slapped me in the face last week and I was writing. I had just finished a good hour of uninterrupted creative composition and was really enjoying the way it was all coming together. As I sat back, feeling satisfied with my work I stopped to check my email. 

BOOM..there it was. 

The comparison trap gripped me out of nowhere. Before I knew it my mind was engaged in rapid fire. Everything I knew to be true faded in the face of a false reality that danced in the crevices of my head. It’s silly really. A simple email from a friend informing me about his new blog, with a request to sign up. That was the catalyst that sent my mind racing down the tunnel of no returns.

“He’s going to be so much better at this than me.” 

“He probably already has 1,000 readers and growing daily.”

“He’s so good at this, why do I even try.”

“He understands it all so well and I’m just making it up as I go.” 

Punch after punch I took to the chin. The comparison game to kick my while I was down. I was stunned. Confused. Not knowing when the next punch was coming. Then doubt and fear began their part. I had opened the door I didn’t see a way out. Moments before I was strong and confident. Now, all I wanted to do was give up.

What had changed from those moments before?

If I’m honest…nothing! Nothing had changed. I received was an email from a friend inviting me to connect with what he was doing. That’s it. It had nothing to do with the work I just accomplished. How was it that in a blink of an eye my world came crashing down around me?

I sat there kicking myself. Then kicked myself for kicking myself. It only took a moment to allow the comparison game to come through the door and knock me down. To get in my head and derail me from the work I need to be doing. Real work.

Have you ever been there? Confident in who you know you should be, then the very next moment you want to give up. I’ve so been there. In fact, I find myself there often.

You'll never win playing the comparison game. Click To Tweet

But what happens when we allow the comparison game to win? It’s not good I know that. I’m sure there are a ton of lessons you could learn, but let’s take a look at 3 that stuck out to me as I wrestled through my battle.

  1. It destroys your self-worth

The classic saying, “the grass is always greener” seems to come to life when you compare your story to others. As you gaze over the fence immediately your self-worth begins to diminish. It’s not because they have it all together, it’s because you believe they have it all together. This destroys your self-worth and allows the comparison game to win every time.

  1. It derails your calling

Over the years, I’ve tried to be a singer-songwriter, producer, independent musician, entrepreneur, and many other things. Every time I found someone else “doing it better”. And every time I ended up saying, “I’m not good enough” and walked away. It’s not until I (you too) realize who I am and start being the best version of myself that the magic will happen. We can’t allow the comparison game to derail our true calling.

  1. You never win

It doesn’t matter how hard you try. How many ways you look at it. If you allow the comparison game in you will never win. It is impossible to do what you were created to do while you look at others with envy. Time and time again I have been faced with this reality. I have switched careers. Tried to embrace someone else’s calling. Run from what I knew was in me. All in the name of comparison. Always with the same result. A loss.

Sometimes the best way to overcome an obstacle is to drag it into the light and call it what it is. Click To Tweet

Ok, so as you read this you find yourself resonating with it. You agree that comparing yourself to those around you is not a good habit to form. What now? What are we going to do about it?

Well, like I mentioned above, sometimes the best way to overcome an obstacle is to simply drag it into the light and call it what it is. Too often we are the demise of our own reality. We allow our thoughts to lead us down a path we never intended. One that leads to complacent and fear.

It’s not a simple fix. Honestly, I wish there was a 3 step program to overcoming the comparison game. If there is, I don’t know about it. So for now let’s just point at it and say, “I see you”. Scream and say, “do your worst”. All while doing our best to not let the comparison game win.

It’s time to rise up. To stop letting fear win.

Let’s go!! #createyourart

Question: Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others? How do you make sure it doesn’t take you out of the game? 


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