The dangers of comparing yourself to others
written by Philip Stefanov | DECEMBER 1, 2020
Some time ago, I came across a Youtube video from a young guy with an amazing physique. And when I say amazing, I mean it. He had great proportions, decent muscular development, and low body fat. He was also very strong - his bench was in the low 300s, squat was in the mid-400s, and he could deadlift about 600 pounds.
I found his Instagram page and saw dozens of perfectly-angled photos. Like most, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I look like this guy?” I also thought to myself, “You dumbass. Get off Instagram right now!”
The dude’s name doesn’t matter. You can place your favorite fitness model in his place, and the scenario will be pretty much the same, but with a different face.
Comparing yourself to other people is self-destructive at worst, and counterproductive at best. This goes double for doing so on social media.
A lot of people these days have body image issues precisely because they keep comparing themselves to others. Plenty of fitness models out there are ripped 365 days of the year and are more than happy to boast about it on social media. Good for them. But when the average person compares themselves to that model, they lose confidence in the way they look and the progress they’ve made so far.
First, always remember that what you see on social media are the highlights. The person probably took a hundred selfies before the one you’re looking at. Second, you can never know what it’s like ‘behind the scenes.’ There is a lot of angle work, a lot of Photoshop, filters, and of course, steroid use.
So, the next time you’re scrolling through Instagram and you come across something that makes you feel bad about yourself, stop and realize that these people get paid to look a certain way and that what you see in the photos isn’t necessarily their real, unfiltered self.
My recommendation is to spend less time on social media in general, but since that’s a difficult habit to shake off, at least use some common sense and remember that what you’re seeing there is a carefully constructed image of that person.
One other common scenario has to do with us comparing ourselves to people who are ahead of us in the game. The gym newbie who feels terrible when they see that one jacked guy. The new blogger who desperately wants to be like their idol. The fresh entrepreneur who feels awful in comparison to people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson.
Here’s the thing though:
You’ve been at it for a week, a month, or a year. The person you’re comparing yourself to has been at it for a decade, two, or more. In other words, they’ve been at it for much longer than you. They’ve spent more time, made more mistakes, learned more things, made more connections, and have naturally gotten the results you crave so badly. But it didn’t happen overnight for them.
Nobody out there got jacked in a month. Nobody made their blog successful in a few weeks. And those entrepreneurs you compare yourself to have made thousands of mistakes before getting to where they are today.
They are merely farther down the line than you are. You need to give yourself time. Focus on your own thing, track your improvements, and be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. Trust me - you’ll live a happier and more satisfying life that way.
If you’re interested in reading more about the topic and how to solve this issue, you can read the article I wrote on it.
Until next week,
P.S. Have you ever compared yourself to people, especially on social media?
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