12% Of Your Daily Thoughts Are Comparison
Are you ready to hear an unfathomable stat? A 2008 study found that comparative thought accounted for 12% of all our thoughts. Sleeping 8 hours a day, 12% of our waking hours is 1 hour and 52 minutes a day spent comparing yourself to others. I don’t think anyone would raise their hand and say that they want to compare themselves to others, let alone be consumed by comparative thought for that long. While it is important to know where others are at so you can draw inspiration from them, their lives should inform how you want to live yours rather than completely determine it.
To break it down, comparison is a matter of the ego. Our ego desires to place us relative to others so that we can place ourselves within the tribe. This had evolutionary benefits many years ago but now it’s actually the source of great distress. A few of the primary needs of the ego are a need to be right, wrong, superior, inferior, offended... All of the ways we feel that separate us from others. It’s meant to establish our independence, ego means one, but it often comes at the cost of our emotional experience.
A few notes on comparison: Comparison is never fair. If you try to place yourself relative to others you’ll never be able to make a true judgment. There are so many factors and circumstances that are not equal between any two experiences, and therefore direct comparison is truly impossible. Like a science experiment, too many things are not controlled for and therefore play a part in influencing the outcome.
Former president Teddy Roosevelt says “Comparison is the thief of joy”. If you’re so busy thinking about other people’s lives, what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling, it gives you less time to live your own. Especially in today’s world where we only gain insight into the highlight reel of others, that comparison makes you feel worse about your career, your appearance, your mindset, and your sense of self-confidence. The negative self-reflection puts you in a place of lack instead of in a place of abundance and it steals your joy.
So think about how this affects your life - Are you often affected by the way you compare yourself to others?
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