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Last Updated on May 8, 2019

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Celebrate Your Uniqueness

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Celebrate Your Uniqueness

It’s easy to say, but hard to follow. Most of us compare ourselves to others even though we know better.

We compare ourselves for (unknown) human reasons, as it’s definitely not because it makes us better, more productive, or smarter in any way. If you simplify it one could say that a comparison is a reaction and/or an emotion.

We can’t always control our emotions, but we do have the ability to control what we do with this emotion: will you let it control you, or will you take back control?

Theodore Roosevelt said:

”Comparison is the thief of joy.”

And he wasn’t wrong.

This article takes you through 7 steps that will help you celebrate your own unique superpowers and make you stop comparing yourself to others.

1. Focus on Your Strengths

Like with most things, learning how to stop comparing yourself starts with a cliché. Yes, it probably feels like a repetition. We all know that we should focus on our strengths and not compare ourselves to others, so why do people keep bringing it up then?

Well, most clichés are clichés for a reason. It’s one of those things that people know, but still somehow fail to actually to take in and live by.

People have different strengths and weaknesses. You might have heard the saying:

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A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.

And it’s true. We are all special in our unique way. Maybe we’re not all born to be Winston Churchill or Albert Einstein, actually forget about the maybe – we’re not all born to be Winston Churchill or Albert Einstein. But we still have something that sets us apart from others. Sometimes in a big way, sometimes in a small way.

The problem is that we will never be able to see that if we’re focused on others. When you start comparing (and competing) against others, you’re most likely comparing yourself to their strengths even though the same thing might be your weakness – and how is that fair?

Turn you head to the mirror. Here’s who you should compare yourself to. Find your strengths and work on them.

2. Awareness

It’s important to be aware and realize you don’t always see the full story. When we compare ourselves to others, we only see what they choose to put out there. They represent themselves in a certain way to the world on the job, on social media, and yes basically everywhere.[1]

Like mentioned above, it will typically lead you to compare the worst of yourself to the best of others.

If you’re not too sure about this statement, then take a minute to think about what you put out there for the world to see. It’s not about faking it, but most people definitely filter their life. They choose very carefully what glimpses of their life they show as well as what they hide away.

Most people probably don’t know about your struggles, so how can you know anything about the person’s struggles that you’ve been comparing yourself to?

John Lee Dumas, award-winning host of Entrepreneurs on Fire, a daily podcast with over one million listens per month and two thousand episodes said,

“We live in a world where everyone is sharing one perfect second of their imperfect day, and we’re interpreting that perfect second as a life of perfection. However, the reality is much different. They are living a life of quiet desperation like the rest of us”.

When we compare ourselves to someone else’s success, we only see the results – not the effort. You can’t compare your beginnings to their ends. You might only have been on this road for a few months – and they’ve been on it for years.

3. Don’t Knock Others Down

When kids and teenagers feel insecure, they have a tendency to take it out on others. Don’t be a kid.

All people grow up psychically, but not everyone grows up mentally. If you find yourself knocking other people down in order to feel better about yourself – stop. Someone else’s failure is never going to be your win.

Some people belittle others in order to elevate themselves, but even if you do decide to go down this (wrong) road, it won’t do you any good. Why form an enemy when you could form a friend?

In the end, you’ll still be in the same place you were in before. So just forget about everyone else.

This is about you, but don’t knock yourself down either. It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between pushing yourself and punishing yourself.

4. Accept Your Shortcomings

If you want to grow, then you need to start out by learning and accepting all parts of yourself. You wouldn’t ignore a problem to solve it, would you? Most of us probably tried at one point, but came to realize it doesn’t really work that way.

Shortcomings aren’t always a problem, or something we necessarily need to solve. But it’s impossible to grow if you don’t allow yourself to take a good look in the mirror and really get to know yourself – strengths and weaknesses.

If we don’t have a starting point, it’s hard to be able to see how far we’ve come later on, and it’s these kind of reminders that often will help us keep going and motivate us in the future.

At the same time, once you figure out what you aren’t good at, it will be much easier to see what you actually can do well.

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And sometimes it’s our weirdness that sets us aside. Chris Sacca once said in a speech:

”Weirdness is why we adore our friends. Weirdness is what bonds us to our colleagues. Weirdness is what sets us apart, gets us hired. Be your unapologetically weird self. In fact, being weird may even find you the ultimate happiness.”

5. Remember: It’s All about Time

There is no way around it. Comparing yourself to other people is a waste of time. It’s not productive in any way.

What does it really do other than taking away precious minutes (sometimes hours) from your day? We get 86.400 seconds every day. Why waste a single second on comparing yourself to others?

It won’t help you. It won’t make you grow in anyway. It definitely won’t make you feel any better.

Sometimes we don’t need science or clever pep-talks. All we need is to remind ourselves of basic, which are probably true facts about life that we already know.

Take a minute to review your day and week. A little recap might help you realize how much time you’ve already spent on this without even knowing it. Not all wake-up calls come from your phone.

6. Chose Whose Input You Ingest

While it’s unhealthy to compare yourself to others, it can actually be quite helpful to learn from others’ habits. Habits can be adapted and it’s possible to find inspiration in others.

Take some time to fully realize who you’re choosing to look up to and how it’s impacting you:

What are you watching, listening to, and reading etc? Are you looking up to someone who’s done some grown-breaking work the field you’re working in that can actually learn you something?

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Or are you simply looking up to Brad Pitt because he’s rich and famous? Are you eating a new groundbreaking protein bar because your dietitian told you, or because an influencer did a sponsored post on them?

7. Learn to Love the Journey

We might just have learned something really big, had a huge win either personally or professionally, but for some reason, we’re still only focused on how far away we are from our end goals.

The true is that we will never be enough – in our own mind at least. Humans are built to keep growing. We’re not supposed to reach a point where we have it all, because then what? What’s the point of getting up in morning if we already have it all?

We need a purpose. We need something new to focus on, so we’re always going to want more.

Accept that you don’t have to have it all to enjoy the journey. Appreciate that you have something to wake up to — a goal or something to work towards.

Maria Popova said:

“Life is a continual process of arrival into who we are.”

Every lesson, every journey takes us one step closer; but we’re never really done.

So stop focusing on what other people are doing in their lives and focus on what you’re doing.

More Articles About Self-Confidence

Featured photo credit: Sam Manns via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Why Media Matters

More by this author

Maria Jensen

Specializes in personal and professional development.

4 Simple Steps to Start Living a Positive Life Common Fears of Every Job Seeker (and How to Deal with Them) Do You Have a Fear of Disappointing Others? How to Conquer It for Good How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Celebrate Your Uniqueness Your Life Is a Mess? How to Fix It and Turn Things Around

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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