Do You Fall Into This Trap? Comparing Yourself to Other People
If you are human, then you have surely done this. You compare yourself to other people in a negative way. The good news is that people out there compare themselves to you and the not-so-good news is that you do it, as well. But be aware that doing either does not truly benefit you or the other person if it is done with a negative context, even though it is a part of human nature. It’s how we grow, it’s how we strive, but sometimes, unfortunately, it’s sometimes an excuse to give up or think despairing thoughts as well.
A Fixed Mindset
If we don’t have something to compare ourselves to, you might reason, then how will we learn to achieve and grow? Sometimes, when we compare ourselves to others, we have something to gauge our success and failure with and, therefore, provide ourselves a measure of where we can do better and achieve more.
However, unfortunately, for those with a fixed mindset, this does not occur at all. There is actually a reverse method of thinking that comes from doing this. That reverse method tells us since we are not as good as the other person, we might as well just quit. That doesn’t work in the world of intelligent people, however. It is ineffective, at best and can be very harmful, creating negative thoughts and keeping us from pushing forward.
Do you ever find yourself viewing someone else’s success as only a way to make yourself look bad? If so, you are not alone in this thought process. For some, the success of others equates to highlight their own failures. When this happens, you tend to make excuses such as the other party being luckier or having it easy. Another excuse is to say everything just comes easily to that person or, even worse, we use their success to highlight some other unrelated shortcoming. What if you could re-train your brain to adopt a mindset of growth?
On the opposite end of the spectrum is a growth mindset. You can give yourself the opportunity to change and grow over time as you learn to re-train your brain to a growth mindset. When you view someone else’s success as a way to strive harder, do more, and work harder, you re-train your brain to view this not as an excuse to stay status quo, but as a reason to thrive.
If you choose the thought patterns that intelligence can be developed, you can most certainly train your brain to reach higher heights; you will see a radical change in your life. Once you get that your self-image has nothing to do with failing at something and that this failure is actually a path to higher learning, you will be more at ease in your own skin.
Wouldn’t that be nice – to be at ease in your own skin? If you change your mind, you can re-train your brain to view failure as a stepping-stone to new successes because it definitely can be just that. You will begin to understand failure as a learning tool and not as a way to define your image.
So, the next time you want to compare yourself to someone else, stop and ask yourself if his/her success can be an inspiration for you. Maybe he/she put a tremendous amount of effort into the realization of dreams and all that hard work paid off. This could be a learning tool for you to work harder and stick with it rather than something viewed as an enemy.
The theory of “growth mindset” was created by Carol Dreck as part of her “mindset work”. Read the quotes below.
“Dweck has primary research interests in motivation, personality, and development. She teaches courses in Personality and Social Development as well as Motivation. Her key contribution to social psychology relates to implicit theories of intelligence, per her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. According to Dweck, individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. Some believe their success is based on innate ability; these are said to have a “fixed” theory of intelligence (fixed mindset). Others, who believe their success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness are said to have a “growth” or an “incremental” theory of intelligence (growth mindset). Individuals may not necessarily be aware of their own mindset, but their mindset can still be discerned based on their behavior. It is especially evident in their reaction to failure. Fixed-mindset individuals dread failure because it is a negative statement on their basic abilities, while growth mindset individuals don’t mind or fear failure as much because they realize their performance can be improved and learning comes from failure. These two mindsets play an important role in all aspects of a person’s life. Dweck argues that the growth mindset will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life. Dweck’s definition of fixed and growth mindsets from a 2012 interview:
“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”
This is important because (1) individuals with a “growth” theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks and (2) individuals’ theories of intelligence may be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, children given praise such as “good job, you’re very smart” are more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like “good job, you worked very hard” they are more likely to develop a growth mindset. In other words, it may be possible to encourage students, for example, to persist despite failure by encouraging them to think about learning in a certain way.”
Be Inspired by Others Success
Other people’s success could be a way and a means for you to learn, grow, and, most importantly, be inspired.
You should find those that are successful in the field you are working in and who have achieved success. Learn more about these people and let their success inspire you. After all, if they can succeed greatly, then it is also possible for you to succeed.
How to find those who can inspire you?
Find those who can inspire you by searching the internet for success stories of those in your field. You may find them in forums related to your field, FaceBook groups, training communities, and even through ads created by successful people who are selling their success steps to others like yourself. Sign up for their email and newsletters to get tips and learn from them. Carefully consider the training or books (even ebooks) they offer for sale.
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