With social media and easy access to information at your fingertips, it is easy to fall into a comparison trap, where you tear yourself apart because others seem to have it better than you.
Even though we know that Instagram is not real life and everyone posts the highlights of their existence, we still find ourselves comparing someone's magical, perfectly edited moments to our routine lives.
Feelings of disappointment, sadness, and maybe even jealousy set in. None of those are positive or productive, and we all know that.
We know perfectly well that we can't compare our page 1 to someone's page 20, but oftentimes we still do, and more often than not it is a negative comparison.
Negative comparison often leads to judgment, so instead of saying why we want to be better or just as happy, successful, fit etc. as "them", we tend to find faults in other successful people to justify our current negative state. We blame, accuse and come up with multiple reasons why we don't want to be like "them". But secretly, deep down, we do.
We are afraid to get out of our comfort zone and, maybe, even feel jealous and helpless.
"They" got the life that we want and deserve. The world is just simply unfair.
It's tough to get into a positive headspace, especially if we feel down. So the choices in front of us are either to level up and work harder or compare ourselves to people who are not as accomplished as we are.
Our feeling brain is more comfortable doing the latter as it is naturally always looking for cozy shortcuts that don’t require mental or physical strain. The self-preservation instinct is a powerful thing, and can also be detrimental to our growth.
It feels safer to compare ourselves to the bottom 90% of human beings. After all, we are doing way better than them, which is an achievement, we tell ourselves. We can reward ourselves for being better than many others. Relax and enjoy. We've made it
As long as we are in the right spot on the bell curve of human potential, we are doing great. We tell ourselves all kinds of stories and justify what we are doing is enough. But is it really?
It is important to question our thinking patterns
because they are often faulty and full of biases.
Our brains are predisposed to protect us from harm. Whatever that harm might be: could be a lion chasing us through the jungle, a burning cup of coffee, a gym workout or that new skill we've been always meaning to learn. Our minds trick us into believing that we are good enough as we are, so we don't apply more pressure onto ourselves. Any pressure signals to our primitive instincts that we are under strain and harm, therefore, time to stop, because we are good enough.
Just like during a cardio session, a long swim, or a tough workout, our brains tell us to stop and give up, and we have to push through the discomfort, pain, and negative inner voice to keep going.
Whether in sports or life, in order to grow and become better we need to push through doubt, discomfort and pain. Strain your muscles, get uncomfortable as you learn new skills, apply pressure to the areas that need positive change, relax for a bit, then do it all over again.
That's what the top 10% do and it really works.
Next time your brain starts telling you that you are doing better than someone else, shift your focus onto people that you admire and aspire to be like. Use them as mentors and teachers. Surround yourself with people who help you achieve more, push you to explore your limits and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Observe what they do, read and study. Pay attention to their values, goals and relationships. After all, if they did it, so can you, if you follow in their footsteps.
Remember to continuously audit your thought process and values, so you don't fall into a negative comparison trap. It's important to be selective by observing the top 10%, and leaving behind anything that does not suit your values. By doing that you are allowing yourself to grow, develop and stay motivated, while leaving room for creation of your own style.
You can achieve whatever your mind desires, but it is easy to get stuck in a blind spot. We don't know what we don't know, so until we see someone achieving the things we never even considered or living the life we never imagined, we wouldn't be able to create that for ourselves.
After reading this you might start to appreciate your current circle and feel grateful for the influence you receive. Maybe you are the lucky one and are already within the top 10%. Congratulations, you've made it. Though why not strive to be in the top 5%?
Sounds like a good challenge.
Some might realize that they are in the wrong spot within the bell curve.
Maybe your friends don't inspire you to level up and want to stay within their comfort zone, challenging themselves only slightly and rarely. Maybe it's time to limit their influence or to introduce new people into your circle. The decision doesn’t have to be drastic, but it might be time to make your way towards the top 10% club.
Not all of us are lucky to have the top 10% within our immediate reach, but all of us can observe them and study their behaviour from afar. They are everywhere - on social media, podcasts, YouTube, etc. It's not hard to find those positive influences. Consume their content, listen to their tips and messages and get inspired by their progress.
Many of them have figured out what makes them happy, or what can be achieved.
Most of them know that there are no limits and you can achieve anything you want, whether it's money, fame, travel, luxury, or great relationships.
You can have it all if only you focus on becoming the top 10%, audit your circle of influence, and resist following the shortcuts that your brain sets up.