The Comparison Game Is Killing You
If you’re looking at how everyone else is doing things, how can you be effective towards accomplishing YOUR goals?
I get it. I do it all the time too.
Comparing success, talent, choices, outcomes, and the natural progression of life as a whole against that of your peers is easy to do, and an innate state of the selfishness we’re born with.
However, we have to realize that by comparing ourselves to everybody else around us, we never truly see the progress we’re making towards our own goals…somebody will always be better at something.
But guess what…how boring would it be if everything came easily, and you were great at everything you ever set your mind to? Nobody would want to be your friend. Healthy competition would no longer be a fun challenge.
Just do you
We were born with natural strong capabilities and other ones we have to work hard to master. It’s part of what makes you, you.
In business, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what the competitor is doing. It’s easy to compare trends, fashion, styles, and other surface marks of relevance, but if we’re all looking around, one-upping each other, is there room for true innovation or thought?
Why do you think there are so many copy-cats to a true leader?
Think of Apple, Tesla, AirBnb, Uber…
Were they focused on the competition? Maybe somewhat, but also to the tune of doing something vastly different. They were focused on the customer experience of what they were creating, not what UI color-ways or shadow-depth is hot right now within the product design environment.
Solve your own problems
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years watching what other people do in the design industry. It’s part of the creative evolution and stepping into yourself as a design professional, but at some point you need to stop focusing on others. You need to carve your own way. Show the world why your thoughts matter, and how they help people.
I remember watching a Creative Mornings talk of a reputable agency here in Portland, and remember the speaker saying “We’re all just making this up as we go”.
At the time this helped me realize there were no right answers, methods, or processes; only circumstantial patterns, and most efficient possible outcomes. There is no such thing as the right way.
Gauge your competition in research, and understand the analysis of who you’re competing with, but don’t get wrapped up in trying to copy x-company. You’re most likely not solving for the same problem, and playing the game of comparison is killing your effectiveness.
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I’m currently a User Experience Designer at eBay, where I work on the Native (iOS+Android) Selling team out of Portland, Oregon. I’ve previously rallied onsite with design teams at Nike, Bodybuilding.com, Intel, as well as freelanced with multiple businesses since 2010. I’m the co-founder of Northwest Beard Supply LLC with my beautiful wife Megan, an avid musician, and weight training junkie.