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It’s not who you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you are not

28 August 2017 Douglas Driscoll

Theodore Roosevelt once famously said that comparison is the thief of joy, but in today’s world, it isn’t just the thief of joy — it has become the thief of everything.

It seems as if we’ve become obsessed with comparing our lives with others, and whether this makes us feel superior or inferior, neither serves a useful purpose.

Comparison doesn’t make you a better person, doesn’t improve your situation and doesn’t serve as motivation; instead it often adds to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and inferiority.

Social media often paints a very unrealistic picture of health and happiness. There will always be someone else who is wealthier, smarter, prettier and slimmer than you; but there is only one you. It’s not who you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you’re not. Every minute you spend wishing you had someone else’s life is a minute spent wasting your own.


Here are a few useful tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others:

1. Admire over desire

You should learn to admire other people’s achievements without the need to question your own. Someone else’s success does not equate to your failure.

2. Compete less, appreciate more 

There will always be occasions when comparison is appropriate, but we should spend more time counting our blessings. Most of us are very lucky to live the life we do.

3. Focus on your strengths 

Rather than just focus on your perceived weaknesses, find time to celebrate your strengths. This will help boost your confidence and self-worth.

4. Live your life on purpose 

Be too busy watering your own grass to even notice if someone else’s is greener. You won’t be distracted by comparison if you are captivated by purpose.

5. Consider life as a journey 

Everyone is at different stages in life, so be careful not to compare your beginning with someone else’s middle. And remember, your journey is a journey, it’s not a competition.

6. Be better, not bitter

Comparison with others can be motivational, but it is comparison with oneself that brings genuine improvement. If you continually compete with others, you become bitter; but if you continually compete with yourself, you become better. Strive to be the best version of you.

7. Fight the urge

As difficult as it is, try to limit your daily social media usage to a maximum of 30 minutes. The pain of discipline hurts a lot less than the pain of comparison.

8. Think that even salt looks like sugar

No one’s life is ever as perfect as their Instagram feed, so apply a BS filter when browsing social media. It never ceases to amaze me how much time and effort some people put into curating the perfect life on social media. Rather than fake it, go out and make it!

It’s not who you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you are not
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Douglas Driscoll is CEO of Starr Partners, and was named Industry Thought Leader of the Year at the Real Estate Business Awards 2016. Originally from the UK, Douglas is widely regarded as one of the industry’s preeminent thought leaders, and is lauded for his dynamic and pioneering approach.

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