Do Not Compete or Compare Yourself With Anyone

June 26, 2016

Do not compete or compare yourself with anyone. Admire others and learn from them. That’s my advice. It is said that in the year 1709, in the palace of Cardinal Ottoboni, a musical tournament between Georg Friedrich Handel and Domenico Scarlatti took place.

The two remained evenly matched but eventually the organ tipped the scales in favor of Handel. The rivalry continued, but they never ceased to admire each other. Scarlatti, always blessed himself when Handel was mentioned as a sign of respect.

The story of Handel and Scarlatti, shows us how even though there is a certain rivalry between the two musicians, that’s not to say that both weren’t excellent in their fields and professed a mutual admiration. It is a matter of loving yourself and having enough humility to admire other people who have extraordinary skills and are worthy of recognition.

“The only way to progress in life without being original or needing to compete with anyone is by being yourself.”

-J.C. Cavallëro-

Do not compete with anyone, it’s not necessary

In today’s society we are taught from childhood to compete. It seems that the important thing is to outdo the other. Competitiveness is present in many areas, not only in sports. We compete for a job, for getting a promotion, to have the most friends or to be the best in some activity. Contests and competitions are continuously created to find the best in any field.

boys competing in a car race

But studies have argued that collaboration outperforms competition because a group of people that work together and united can achieve higher goals than one person. But to achieve working with a group of people we must control our ego and that is something that sometimes takes effort and a great exercise in humility.

“Stay away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but really great people make you feel that you too can be great.”

-Mark Twain-

Competitiveness can exist even with oneself; that is, we can be competitive to try to improve ourselves and reach our goals. But in this sense, we must also be cautious because excessive competitiveness can cause frustration.

We have the mistaken belief that we need to be recognized to be loved, and think that if we’re the best at something we will achieve this recognition and love. However, this belief is false because winning does not mean achieving love. Winning is something ephemeral. What stays with us is what we learned while and when we did it.

Therefore, do not compete with anyone, rather, work with someone. And beware of competing with yourself because overdoing it leads to a loss of confidence in ourselves and to frustration.

Comparison and self-esteem

Comparisons at a given time can increase our self-esteem, but it is often the way of doing it that has more side effects. Getting into the habit of comparing ourselves with others places our attention away from the task itself, minimizing the intrinsic motivation that it can give us.

green heart made of grass

For example, if we focus on reading more books than our colleague and we like to read, entering a competition and almost being obligated to read will make us start to hate even just opening a book. Remember, do not compete with someone even if it is something you like because you may end up hating it…

The important thing in order to avoid comparisons that hurt us, is to increase our self-esteem and understand that all people are unique and different because our circumstances are also different. Being mortified because someone else has obtained a better home than ours or a better job causes us lose perspective. Our life has different objectives to that of others based on what we want and not what others have achieved.

If we properly manage our self-esteem, we can see the positive side of the comparisons and use their motivating power for tasks we have to do and that we do not like. However, be careful, because the line that divides positive comparison from the negative is very thin, and it mustn’t be exceeded in pursuit of extreme perfectionism.

“A bird perched on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because his trust is not in the branch but on his own wings.”

-Adah Vigo-