"Comparison is the thief of joy." Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saying this. Theodore's musing sums up a great failing in our society. We compare ourselves to others, constantly looking for celebrities and influencers to look up to. Looking for role models.
A role model is someone whose behaviour, example, or success can be emulated by others. As individuals, we compare ourselves to people who occupy the social role to which we aspire. We use role models to motivate and inspire ourselves to be better.
Through vetted inspiration and understanding of our own core drivers, we can take the best traits of others and apply them to better ourselves. This is called a moral imperative. A strongly felt principle that compels a person to act. It is this principle that we need to apply and emulate; chose your role model and ask yourself "what would so-and-so do?" (see also WWJD?).
Looking at celebrities in the media, what we see is typically curated. On the whole, we understand this. We do not see the behind the scenes, the perfect lighting and the camera teams, the airbrushing and make up, the expert styling. The lifestyle sacrifices. We see only the end result, what the limelight shows. The success and perfection (or the constant work in progress and strive for excellence). We understand that as much as we can look up to, be inspired by celebrities and hold them in great admiration, it is near impossible to achieve their level of success, without the right resources.
We understand and accept it when it comes to celebrities but struggle to understand this when it comes to people who we actually know. We look at others and are quick to criticise, judge and compare. We find ourselves caught out saying "I can never do X.", and asking "Why everyone else always seems to be able to do Y?" If left unchecked, this type of comparison can drag us down instead of inspiring us.
Instead of getting caught up in the cycle of negative self-talk of why we "can't" do something, look at what we can do. Look at what "everyone else" is doing and learn. If everyone else is achieving success and getting great results, find out what they are doing and apply it to our daily life to mirror their success. Understand that everyone is an individual. People's body types are different, people's progress is different, people's priorities and sacrifices are different. Comparing yourself to someone else without full understanding of what that person has been through and chosen to present to the world is a recipe for disaster.
When approached with the right mindset and perspective, comparison and competition can be a powerful motivator. Consider the example presented by Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the height of his Mister Olympia bodybuilding career people would say "we never want to look like you." Schwarzenegger's poignant response would be "don't worry, you never will." Schwarzenegger is famous for his work ethic, determination, his goal setting and foresight, and for doing what other people were not prepared to do. In his mind, he competed only against himself which put him ahead of his peers and the competition. This set him apart from the crowd.
So, take the traits we admire from celebrity athletes, movie stars, lifestyle gurus, bestselling authors, historical figures, famous leaders, inspirational speakers and social influencers. Choose your role model. Look at what sets them apart: their drive, determination and their teachings. Forget the glitz, glamour, expert styling, perfect teeth and limelight.
Learn from people you admire and respect. Use their example, see what you can do. Use your competition to drive you to do better; make your idols become your rivals. Stop comparing yourself to others and change your perspective. Set the standard and look within to hold that standard. The only person you should be comparing yourself with is the person you were yesterday; the person you see in the mirror. Take a look at yourself and make a change.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.