maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: The dangerous lure of social comparison

“You can’t be envious and happy at the same time. People who pay too much attention to social comparisons find themselves chronically vulnerable, threatened, and insecure.”

Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness

This is the challenge and caution for all of us, especially at this time of year. Too often people make New Years Resolutions based on social comparisons. 

Those social comparisons can come from spending too much time on social media and making the assumption that all the smiling faces, great restaurants, exotic vacations and apparent perfect lives are the norm for the people posting. 

I spend little to no time on social media but it strikes me that people tend to post the good moments and events in their life, some of which are fleeting. It is rare that people post about their financial struggles and massive credit card debt. It is rare that people post about the struggles in their relationships at home and at work. It is rare that people post about the promotion they did not get because they had not done the work to make themselves the best candidate. It rare that people post about their mistakes and their failures. It is rare that people post about the poor performance review they got at work because they have embraced mediocrity and have just been showing up and going through the motions at work.  It is rare that people post the pictures of themselves after they put back all the weight when they went off the fad diet. 

It is easy to assume that all the people in the magazines and adds and in the movies with the perfect bodies and the perfect smiles always look that way. Most do not. Pick up a fitness magazine for men and look at the supplement adds with the before and after pictures of some of the body builder types. The reality is that the before picture is how they look most of the year and the after picture is how they look for the competitions and the add photos. 

If you are getting back into working out be cautious of comparing yourself to others at the gym. Comparing yourself to the super fit people can be discouraging because of the gap between you and them. Looking for people who are more overweight or less fit than you might allow you to try and convince yourself that you are not in that bad of shape after all, but will do nothing to get your butt in gear and do the work. 

Learn from others. Find out what they did to get to where they are at. Dig deep to figure out what systems they put in place and understand the true level of commitment they displayed over the long haul to get to where they are at. 

Study others, learn from others, but stop comparing yourself to them and stop trying to be them. Put what you learn through the filter to best determine what is of value to you and what is not. Take action on what you are learning and keep learning.

What’s Important Now? Focus on you. Be honest with where you are at and make the commitment to show up every day, do the work, and strive to continually be the best version of yourself that you can. 

Take care.

Brian Willis



Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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