I struggle with comparisonitis, which is something that can steal your joy.
I am a person who, for better or worse, places much of my identity in my accomplishments. I am ambitious and internally motivated because (when I’m not keeping myself in check) I derive much of my self-worth from my accomplishments. So when I see others accomplishing more or receiving more recognition, there is a deep-seeded part of me that suggests that they have more value than I do or are more worthy of love or adoration because of what they have done. This in turn leads to internal discord with my own accomplishments.
Comparisonitis is innate in humans and has been with us since the dawn of humanity, though some of us feel the pull of it more deeply than others. The earliest events in recorded history reflect envy’s existence. Whether you believe it to be truth or fable, envy was the catalyst for the fall of Adam and Eve and the act that got them removed from the Garden of Eden. Cain murdered his brother Able because he was envious of the favor God bestowed on the sacrifice that Able had made.
Like any other unhealthy tendency that tempts us, the first thing is to recognize it in ourselves. If you feel the pull of comparisonitis, learn to recognize the feeling and be aware of it, because if you know how you feel, you can control your behavior. If left unchecked, envy can lead to narcissism, ingratitude, and taking joy in the failures of others.
If you want to alleviate the grip of comparisonitis, focus inwardly. As Jocelyn Glei writes in Manage Your Day to Day, “Stop looking at what other people are doing and look at what you’re achieving. Stop looking sideways, look at where you’re going.” Don’t get bogged down in what others are doing. Stay focused on the road ahead of you.
This is an excerpt from my book, Level Up Your Law Practice: The Ultimate Guide to Being a Successful Lawyer.