Have you ever heard of the phrase keeping up with the Joneses?
It is based on a simple idea and premise.
A beautiful couple (the Joneses) moves into the neighbourhood, and they seem to have it all.
They have a nice car, dress well, have lots of money and seem to have it together.
As a result, their once happy and content neighbours are now figuring out how to fit in with their seemingly perfect neighbours.
They buy cars and clothes they can’t afford to “keep up with the Joneses”.
“All to show that one is as good as other people by getting what they have and doing what they do.”
Welcome back to twenty things you must stop doing in your twenties.
This is idea #4.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Let’s talk about this idea because it is the whopper for our generation.
I hardly doubt this idea is new or groundbreaking, but it is crucially important for you to strive and become the best self in your twenties.
In a world of social media, our younger people have been slam-dunked in the face by comparison.
Anywhere you look or turn, people live their best lives and show it all in perfect quality online.
You do your first assignment, and the marks come back. You lean over to see what your friends got.
The whispering begins.
You look down and cover your mark, so no one else sees.
This is your life for the next twelve years until you get the magic number at the very end.
The ultimate comparison number.
Throw that into the pot, sprinkle in a fu*k off dose of social media and no wonder we struggle with self-worth issues.
“Comparison is the thief of joy”.
It is human nature.
I am sure our cavemen ancestors struggled with self-worth issues when someone bought home a bigger kill, more berries or managed to secure themselves an open sky cave.
Let me pitch you this idea.
It is safe to say most people want followers online. Rightly or wrongly, most people would love to have more followers.
Imagine you wake up one morning, and your video has gone viral.
Fifty million views viral, and you open up your app to seemingly infinite notifications and see a number on your screen.
One hundred thousand people followed you overnight.
You can’t believe it, and your life is about to change.
You open up your group chat to tell everyone the good news.
But before you can, all six of your friends in the chat are sending screenshots of their accounts.
They also gained 100,000 followers overnight.
Suddenly, your accomplishment seems meaningless, and the high you felt is now gone.
This is the danger of comparison.
You still gained followers; your accomplishment hasn’t changed.
This happens to people worldwide every day, yet you are unbothered because you don’t see it.
The issue is social media has amplified what we can see. We are no longer comparing ourselves to our immediate circle but to the entire world.
The same would go with height; if you woke up a foot taller, you would be pumped. But if everyone else in your country also grew a foot taller, it wouldn’t be as remarkable.
So why is this?
I believe a big reason is our desire to achieve status.
Status chasing is one of the most significant modern-day issues.
It is why so many people work countless hours, work in jobs they hate, and spend money they don’t have on items they don’t use.
To quote my good friend Joe Wehbe…
“We always question why big businessmen and wealthy families don’t just retire on a beach.
In truth, they don’t need more money to buy anything, but in their status game, their wealth is the building block on which their status is built.
1) the opinion they believe everyone has of them and
2) the image they build of themselves, wanting to feel successful.”
But why do we chase status?
Because, as humans, we have an innate desire to fit in.
Thus we have arrived back at the root problem… Comparison.
If you let people’s perceptions of you dictate your behaviour, you will never grow as a person. But if you leave yourself open to experience despite what others think, you will learn and grow.
I recently saw a young girl on TikTok say she wanted to be a doctor, so when men called her “Miss”, she could correct them by saying, “that’s doctor.”
First of all, cringe.
Second, I know she was joking, and it was a silly TikTok.
However, I genuinely believe there was a large element of truth to what she said, which is how many young people think.
To me, that is the perfect representation of status chasing and comparison.
She wants to be a doctor because she will be viewed as higher status in society, and chances are her friends are all pursuing equally “high status” careers, and she wants to fit in.
Regardless if it is what they genuinely want to do with their life.
I will talk about careers in a future post, but here is the only thing that truly matters.
If it makes you happy, it doesn’t have to make sense to anybody else.
Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t succumb to the status trap.
This is something people don’t recognise until they are old.
Have you ever noticed that older people don’t seem to give a shit and live their lives?
Don’t wait until you are old to live this way.
Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 10.
We all know a large amount of social media is fake.
But despite knowing this, when we see people achieving more than us, we can’t help but compare ourselves to them.
For me, my podcast is called Driven Young.
And I was never bothered by anyone else’s success if they were older than me.
Even if they were only a month older, I didn’t care.
But as soon as I saw someone younger than me achieving huge things, that feeling of jealousy would kick in.
I began to compare myself to them.
Here is the honest truth.
- Most people show their highlight reels online. Therefore you don’t see the lows. Only the highs.
- We are all running different races. You can’t compare yourself to someone who got a 10-second headstart. But even if you did start together, you are running your own race.
- In the same way, you are comparing yourself to young celebrities or people online wanting what they have. It’s the same way kids in developing counties worldwide are looking at you.
So how do we help combat comparison?
Well, I have a few tips.
1. Weekly wins
Every Monday morning, I spend 10-20 minutes reviewing the previous week with a notepad.
I list out all of the most significant achievements I made that week. Personal or proffesional.
I often think I had a bad week, then I write down everything I achieved, and it is an incredible reminder of the progress I am making.
2. The one person you are allowed to compare yourself to.
There is one person you can compare yourself to.
That is yourself. Last week, last month, last year.
Compare yourself to the past. Have you improved and grown?
Compare yourself to the past you, but you should always strive and chase the future you.
I want to share a segment for Matthew Mcognahes Oscar-winning speech with you.
” Thank you and to my hero. That’s who I chase. Now, when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say who’s your hero? I said it’s me in 10 years.
So I turned 25, 10 years later that same person comes to me and goes “so are you your hero?” And I was like, not even close! I said, “why it is because my heroes me at 35. So you see every day, every week, every month and every year my life. My heroes always 10 years away, I’m never going to be my hero. I’m not going to attain that I know I’m not and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”
3. Limit your time on social media
Limit your time on social media; that way, you won’t be consciously or subconsciously comparing yourself to others 24/7.
Another tip is to cull who you follow and only follow people or pages that bring your joy.
4. Celebrate your friend’s wins
Rather than be jealous when your friends or someone you know achieves something, why not celebrate with them!
Again this isn’t a race. Spreading positivity can only be a good thing. I used to suffer from jealousy within my circle, and maybe to an extent, I still do.
But I can say from the bottom of my heart that when one of my closest friends achieves something big, I am so excited for them.
(So long as it isn’t too big, jks jks.)
That is it!
Hopefully, my comparison tips helped you or at least brought this to your awareness so you can tackle it how you please.
At this point in life, I simply don’t have the energy to be anyone or be anything other than who I am.
Remember not to worry about people’s opinions of you. We are all running at our own race, and succumbing to people’s opinions is a gateway to living an unhappy life.
Pursue what you want, with whom you want.
Take off your masks and be authentically you.
Life is too short to constantly appease everyone. And by pleasing everyone, you please no one.
Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Don’t bother keeping up with the Joneses.
To finish up, I want to leave you with this quote from Dr Seus.
“Today you are you; that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.
Stay Young, Stay Driven.
Your challenge this week!
Take a social media purge.
Open up your social media of choice (most likely Instagram). And click on who you follow.
I want you to unfollow at least 1/3 of that total number. If you are following 1000 people, then try to unfollow 350.
Old high school friends, you are no longer in contact with celebrities or influencers that you constantly compare yourself to negatively.
Once you have done that, go into your followers and remove 1/4 minimum of your followers.
Purge your social media, so it is difficult to constantly compare yourself to others.
Do this and see how you feel. Many of my friends have done it years after high school. I am not saying the people you are removing are wrong but do you need to be following them?