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Comparing Achievements

Achievements are great. They show that a person has a track record of delivering on what they set out to accomplish. From the time we're born forward, there is a lot of emphasis placed on doing well. Getting good grades in school, being the best athlete on the team, and getting a good job are all examples of things we want or in some cases, pushed, to want. It's natural to want to do well in these types of pursuits. It's another thing altogether to compare our achievements in life to others. Comparing ourselves to others is a potentially toxic practice that can lead to trouble.

Our goals and achievements are internal, we have a direct impact on the outcome. Things may not go exactly as planned, but we can control many the actions taken to complete it. The achievements of others are external, we don't have direct control over them. It all comes down to an internal vs. external distinction. Through focusing on the internal things, we don't have to worry or waste time on the things we can't control.

Comparing our achievements to what others have done can be an inspiring practice if done with the right perspective. Through seeing that someone else has already done something we want to do, that experience can be used as a guide. It's great to think about greatness and use it to get better. On the other hand, when approached from a negative point of view, comparison can lead to jealously and bitterness. Thoughts like "why not me?" when considering someone who happens to look more successful than you just aren't productive.

The fact that someone else is successful is a great thing. Just because they're successful doesn't mean you won't ever achieve your goals or aren't great already. Life isn't a zero-sum game. Be happy for the success of others and your own. Never get discouraged by the achievements of others, use them for motivation.

Published on 4/29/2016 10:00:49 PM

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