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Updated on:

April 9, 2015

It’s a great myth that we should never compare ourselves to others. How would we gain perspective, values, standards, ideas, ambition, or growth if we removed ourselves from our social context? The truth is there are healthy ways to compare yourself to others:

1. Compare for creativity, not looks:

It’s demoralizing to compare yourself to others at surface levels like appearance or outward success. Instead of asking how you can be like others, ask how you are different; compare to discover creative distinction not to conform. You can’t make any major contribution in life without understanding how you are distinct. You’ll access a new creative edge when you start looking outward and asking, “How would I go about that differently? What’s my perspective and how is it different? How could I add even more value in a unique way?”

2. Compare for vision, not followers:

Never evaluate yourself on the size of your friendship base or fans. If you do, you’ll always feel down noticing others have more than you. Instead, look to how others are serving, about how they’re shaping and moving towards a vision. When you meet people who want to make a big difference in the world, it makes a big difference in you.

3. Compare for growth, not achievement:

When you see talented people achieving the remarkable, it should inspire you to level up. If you can look at someone who is doing something better than you and it inspires you to grow, you have humility and you have a chance. If their success threatens you or causes you bitterness, you’ll never ascend.

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About the author 

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]