“Don’t compare and despair.”
It’s what we like to tell ourselves and others when we think we’re not doing as well as (or better than) someone else, or when we see how cute someone looks on Instagram in their new spring dress while we’re sitting at home in sweats eating Thai takeout.
We think we’re comforting ourselves when we remind our hamster brain that we all work at our own pace and do our own thing and that what others do is their thing, and that we’re not in competition.
But we kinda are in competition, aren’t we? To some degree? And being in competition isn’t necessarily or inherently bad.
Maybe better advice would be “compare and prepare”? It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. How we respond to it is what counts. Rather than telling someone to not do something, I’d prefer to give people (and, honestly, myself) actionable advice.
I’d rather coach someone that if they compare, they’d better prepare. Prepare to:
set actionable goals and actually do things
put some work out there that takes a stand, makes a difference, helps someone
reposition how they think about themselves (we’re all doing better than we give ourselves credit for, btw)
put more words and actions into the world so people can learn more about us
let themselves be seen and heard for what they’re already doing
produce, produce, produce, and then produce some more
champion each other and lift each other up
Saying “don’t compare and despair” isn’t helpful. Instead, let’s try to handle this differently with one another. Let’s celebrate what people are doing, rather than despairing that we’re not doing it. Let’s encourage one another to use those comparison moments as motivation to put ourselves out there in ways that are authentic to us and that help us achieve our goals. Let’s purposely lift up other in our lives (or even those we admire from afar). And, let’s actively tell one another that we admire what they do, where they’re going, and how they inspire us.
Each of us, let’s get out there this week and do one thing that sets us apart from others, makes us memorable, gets us interested, and makes even just one person say, “Daaaaaaammmn, she’s REMARKABLE.”
Because you are.
Now get out there and compare and prepare!
Here’s a little look at some things I’m reading, listening to, or otherwise consuming this week:
What I’m listening to: A backlog of episodes from the following podcasts: The Tim Ferriss Show; The JV Club; Planet Money; Clear + Vivid; The Moment with Brian Koppelman; Houston We Have a Podcast; and Recode Decode. I have a lot of car time coming up this week, so I hope to continue getting through them until I get fed up and declare amnesty and delete them all.
What I’m reading: The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. A lovely story about a woman finding her way as an adult, volunteering in a library, remembering the stories she wrote as a child, and finding out some thing about her family that are quite surprising. It’s lovely and thoughtful, and I’m sad it’s coming to an end. I have just a few pages left, and I am dragging them out because I am enjoying the story.
What I’m watching: 30 Rock on Hulu and Parks and Recreation on Netflix. It’s my go-to, and I love it so.
What’s canceled: Whatever was on my schedule for December 19, 20, 21, and 22 because now that I’ve seen the new Star Wars teaser trailer, I’m clearing my calendar for those days so I can see this movie about eleventy billion times.
What I’m learning: All about the ulnar nerve, or “funny bone” because I’ve banged mine about 10 times in the past few days and the pain/pleasure is so intense.
What’s making me think: How the Fibonacci sequence is found in nature, particularly some of the flowers that are starting to bloom in my garden.