Let's Strive For Connection, Not Competition

We live in a world where comparison is natural and common, yet it can be detrimental if we focus on it too much. I talk with many of my friends and find myself giving the same piece of advice: don’t compare yourself to other people! Although I need to practice what I preach, it is a constant reminder that instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should be connecting to each other.

Everyone around us has something unique to offer. Frequently, we find ourselves looking at others and recognizing qualities they have that we don’t possess which, quite often, can lead us to jealousy. This is especially true for women around the same age or in a similar job or situation. Why do we do this?!

If you’re anything like me, you are your worst critic and judge yourself way too much. So when you see others who shine in certain areas in which you are not as confident, it’s a blow to your ego. But what would happen if we let these differences empower us instead? What if we could recognize and embrace the qualities others have while understanding that they are their own unique person, and use those differences to our advantage?

A good friend told me when you compare yourself to someone else and find yourself jealous of that person, it’s because they possess a quality you wish you had in yourself, or that they reflect something about yourself back to you. Well, ain’t that the truth! So here are my thoughts on how to rise above in a world of comparison, connect to others, and bring out the best in each other. First, recognize the moment you start comparing yourself to someone else so that you can understand the root of it. Say, for example, you have a co-worker who gets things done way faster than you. They pick things up more easily and seem to move on to the next thing when you just started getting a handle of it all.

Secondly, before letting comparison get the best of you, consider that it may be a natural skill or strength for your co-worker, and that your strengths simply shine in a different way. Lastly, come to see their strength not as competition, but as a window of opportunity. In the context of this example, knowing your co-worker’s strengths of efficiency and picking things up quickly means you can go to them when you need to get something done in a timely manner. Sounds like effective teamwork to me! In doing this, you'll find there's no need to be harsh on yourself; you can just appreciate the unique strengths you contribute in your own way.

By connecting to that other person, you can find ways to ultimately support each other in your work without comparison. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”