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How To Escape the Comparison Trap | by Jordan | Mar, 2024

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Photo by Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash

How often do you find yourself comparing your life to someone else’s?

You look at your coworkers and feel like you aren’t as successful as they are. And this drives you to feel inadequate. Or like you need to catch up to them.

At the same time, you completely ignore the homeless person on the corner who would give anything to have the security you have.

This is a foundational flaw in how your brain processes information. It’s known as the social comparison bias.

Your brain wants to draw distinctions between you and people around you. It looks for outward indicators of status, power or wealth and compares them to your own.

Add to this your brains tendency to ignore information that contradicts your existing beliefs, and you can start to see why you notice people doing better than you but ignore those doing worse.

And the final piece that creates the comparison trap is called a processing loop. This is how your brain looks for information in your environment, decides what is useful and makes your conscious mind aware of the information.

That’s a great explanation, but how do I escape this comparison trap?

I got you. You need to bring the processing loop into your conscious brain. When you find yourself fixating on how much better someone else appears to be doing, take a pause and then remind yourself of your own journey. Look at where you started and compare it to where you are today.

This takes advantage of the concept of relativity.

When you make a comparison, your view is driven by your perspective.

Looking at people who are ahead of you will make you feel less accomplished. While looking at people behind you, or an older version of yourself, will make you feel more accomplished.

And when you can break yourself out of the comparison trap, you’ll start to find more enjoyment from life. You won’t feel so pressured to perform or move yourself up in a hierarchy.

So give this a shot. And let me know how it works.



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