In my opinion, this is without a doubt the toughest challenge of the human race. We are naturally conditioned to compare our lives with those of others, especially in our professional life. One of the consequences of sharing the planet with so many brilliant people is that we are easily exposed to all the great talents of the world. Who wouldn’t crave some of that success, splendour and fortune?
Although comparing ourselves to others may give us something to strive for, too much comparing doesn’t make for a healthy existence. The main problem is that focussing on our own lives can often make us feel unhappy, which is why it’s tempting to shift our focus elsewhere. There are two points I’d like to share with you that have helped me to change my perspective.
Firstly, whenever we compare, we do so in a way that always excludes our own merits from the equation. In other words, we compare the worst of ourselves to the best of others. If we’re in the business of comparing, we should at least do it fairly. But we never do! Not only do we dismiss our own qualities, but we delude ourselves further by casually gifting this to our contemporary.
Next time you start to compare yourself, notice, how without thinking, you automatically assume your best traits onto that person.
Even if you are in the habit of belittling your greatest qualities, whether you like it or not, you definitely have something others don’t - which brings me onto my next point…
Every person on this earth has a unique profile of strengths and virtues to offer the world. Yes, some people may share similar traits, but the varied distribution of these ensures that no two people are the same. If you take the VIA character strengths model of 24 strengths, and work out the number of possible combinations, this equates to over 620448 billion billion – which is too high a number for me to fathom!
This unique combination means that we all express our characters differently. And it’s important to consider this when searching for your ideal job. You are bound to add something of immense value to an employer, and it will be something that another candidate won’t have. No other candidate can replicate what you can bring to a business - because ultimately you are two different people.
Whether you think someone is better or more talented than you, they can never challenge the distinction of your character, which is why it’s so important to be your authentic self. But that’s a discussion for another day…