There’s not much that needs to be said – because I think the image above says it all. When you spend your time comparing yourself to your competition, your family, your friends, and your peers – you’ll likely find yourself never living up to your own expectations.

That’s because your expectations are unrealistic. You’re not always going to be as good as everyone else. You’re not always going to be the best. The fastest. The strongest. The smartest.

The path to success is an inward journey. Success is defined by your accomplishments – not on how those accomplishments compare to everyone else. Remember that as you seek to discover your own creativity, fulfillment, and happiness.

Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. Hey Matt,
    But what about when the comparison is to your own previous work?

    - Melissa

    Reply
    • Hi Melissa! Learning from your own experiences – your work – your successes and failures – is extremely important. The trick is not not get hung up on the past – or to look too far into the horizon. The challenge we’re all faced with is making the most of the present – and doing our best today.

      Reply
  2. Hi Matt,

    Unrealistic expectations to me isn’t about reining your dreams and goals in to meet a ‘realistic’ expectation. It’s about not focusing on someone else’s goals and running towards them because you haven’t found your own. It’s about tapping into your own beat and working out what’s going to put the smile on your face and make you feel like you’re achieving something important for Team You.

    Reply
    • Completely agree and well said, Karen. The point here – and the point you make – is that your expectations shouldn’t be set based on everyone else – but rather – that the path to success is an inward journey. The best metaphor I’ve found is that of running. When you run – you’ll always be faster than some and slower than others – but that’s not the point. The point is to do YOUR best. The point, simply, is to run. Cheers!

      Reply
  3. this subject brings to mind Nader Khalili’s “Racing Alone” which I found inspiring many years ago.

    Reply
  4. Hey Matt, First time here :)

    Great point here. Comparing yourself to others is nothing, just a waste of your time. Most of the people today in any business keeps an eye to their competitors and works to be better than their competitors, instead of doing own things.

    I love your blog BTW and I appreciate you visit my blog and give me a suggestion.

    Thanks,
    Ehsan

    Reply
  5. This post really hits home as I write my own talk around a very similar topic. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about pedestals lately – especially the ones we place others on. Putting someone and/or something up on a pedestal creates a near impossible ideal. Not only is this ideal so high up it perpetually seems out of reach, but this ideal is so high and so far away that the actual goal is so distorted we wouldn’t even know if we had reached it. The air is also so thin the higher we go that it gets harder and harder to climb to the ‘top’, and the platform is often so narrow that all it takes is the slightest ‘wind’ (challenge, ill timed perceived slight, etc) to knock us (and those we put there) right back off. While comparison is often automatic and unavoidable, the real work (and win) comes from recognizing not just that we’re doing it but WHY we are. Defining success by someone else’s terms guarantees we’ll never get there.

    Reply
  6. Great post! This is why I have such a love/hate relationship. I love catching up with friends, but I also feel as though social media makes it much easier to compare yourself to others. But, as I once read, you’re seeing their “highlight reel” (who wouldn’t put only their best moments on Facebook?) while you’re living the ups and downs of normal life. I definitely agree that the path to success is an inward journey. The decisions that work for someone else may not work for you, so there’s no point in comparing yourself to everyone else!

    Reply
  7. I think there are two sides on this debate though. Comparison to your competition of course will let you see more of your failure and what you’ve done wrong so we all can improve it. I guess it’s not a “thief of creativity” because you can’t originate everything. Even when someone invented something, it always relies on some previous work or creation.
    Sorry, I don’t mean to bash your idea.

    Reply
    • I feel like the statement has more to do with the topic of imagination rather than originality – each being a component of creativity. I see the message simply suggesting that we look IN for INspiration. Because when we compare our work to that of others we essentially “rob” ourselves of the visions special to us. (tried not to use the word unique there lol).

      However, as you aptly mentioned, any visions/ideas inside us are obviously the result of existing ideas. Hence, nothing is truly original.

      Reply
  8. Well said. It’s not always easy – to not compare, but what I try to do – if I need to compare – is just compare myself to *me* – to my former self… ask myself how far have I come?

    Reply
  9. Definitely agree with the statment on the image. Comparing yourself to your competition can drastically decrease confidence in your strengths. Focus only on your goals, dreams and achivements. Abgrate your professional level and always look forward. Good luck!

    Reply
  10. [...] And comparison isn’t only the thief of joy. It’s the thief of potential creation. [...]

    Reply

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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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