If Comparison Feels Like the Thief of Joy, You’re Doing It Wrong

The type of beam balance that truly supports self-improvement.

Photo by Kawin Harasai on Unsplash

When I scored zero in a college exam, I laughed hard because my friend who taught me one night before — got one mark. We didn’t even get to say “marks”.

We remembered this scene for a whole week in many conversations. After we got over it, I compared my performance with my friend because he also scored zero initially, but he fought with the professor [ politely ] to increase his mark by one.

The zero marks incident is an example of academics. I’m sure you have similar memories from school. Do you feel dumb for it? Me too.

Another case is when we compare our performance with our peers. It is hard to let go, but comparing with others is an act of ego to make us feel superior in the moment.

Once I saw the negatives of comparing with people who don’t share the same experience as me, I started analysing my performance the right way.

Here are three practical ways to track your growth by defining your standards because your journey is unique to you.

#1. Find a clear metric to define your success.

The decider for your performance can be anything you want. Here are some specific metrics I use:

  • punctuality
  • consistency
  • speed
  • focus

Mastering all of them at once is arduous. Every person has a different level of intelligence, which means you’ll practice it at a different pace than anyone.

But as long as you focus on creating your standard to define your growth, you’ll get away with comparing yourself with other people. The four metrics I displayed has nothing to do with external opinions. These habits are under your control.

#2. Challenge your mind to sharpen it.

I run 3 km every day now. But I didn’t start this way.

I started running one month ago. On the first day, I ran 500 m.

Gradually, I increased the distance by 500 m every day. And before I found out how far I’ve come, I run 3km daily.

Challenging your brain makes it work harder and build new neural networks.

New connections mean more brain volume — a healthy brain’s signature. Self-improvement becomes a collateral advantage!

#3. Be a student. Experiences are your teachers.

My Instagram bio says “lifelong learner”. That’s because I feed my brain by learning in different ways for knowledge surge.

Recently, I started listening to audiobooks. The experience is so slick that maintaining it is effortless.

Student mentality will keep you grounded when you’re triumphant and curious when you fail.

You’re not a stone, but a flower. You stand the harsh weather only if you know that it will go away while teaching you lessons that success couldn’t.

Final words

The adage — enjoy the process — sounds cliché without first-hand experience.

Whenever someone said to me, “Success is a journey, not a destination”, I thought what would hurt them more — noogie or jab — because I’ve already heard the idea so many times.

So, why the repetition? Because it’s true.

The process shows your evolution when comparing it with your past self because it shows where you need to channel your focus.

Once you embrace the student mentality, you become a lifelong learner. You’ll define your standards of success and challenge your brain to find its new limits. And like success, self-improvement is also a journey.

So, start enjoying the process. Oops, I repeated it! Please don’t hit me.

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Sanjeev is a writer, mentor and recovering shopaholic. He writes about emotional intelligence, productivity, relationships, and practical psychology for everyday life. When he is not busy with his muse, he is sweating either in a workout or playing badminton.



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Sanjeev Yadav

Sanjeev Yadav

Writer • Mentor • Recovering Shopaholic • IITR 2019 • ✍🏼 Personal Growth, Positive Psychology & Lifelong Learning• IG: sanjeevai • List: