Comparing yourself to others is not always a bad thing. I know most others would suggest otherwise, but trust me for a while and I will prove my point. At least, I will try my best to do that. Actually, it can be both good and bad, depending on who you are comparing yourself with. And, as long as you are comparing yourself to the person who is best in the world at what you do, you are good to go.
But, the moment you begin to compare yourself with someone who is a mediocre, or maybe equivalent to your own competence, the game changes all the way for the bad. And just in case you have been habitual to compare your greatness with ones who are not as good as you are in your domain, you stop envisioning your growth.
Then you are frittering off your time and intelligence living in the delusion that you are great at what you do while you are just a baby in the world full of thumping giants. Allow me to elucidate with my own example as a budding writer.
I am a greenhorn at this trade of writing. Ergo, given the theory which so many suggests, I should not compare myself with anyone else, and charter my own territory growing at my own pace. And, on the other hand, my theory suggests, I should compare my writing practices, training and skills with someone who is an acclaimed for his writings.
Yes! My methodology suggests I should compare myself with the writer who I believe is the best in the craft of words and thoughts. And, that is why this 22-year-old writer in the making compares himself with the author of seventeen books, one of which even remained a bestseller for a streak of several months, James Altucher.
Who is this person who I compare myself with? He is the author who gave this world a masterpiece as great as “Choose Yourself.” What more? He has 193.5k followers on Quora and tens of millions of monthly clicks on his personal website! I know that he is someone who is a pro at what he does and I am nowhere close to his levels of greatness in writing world.
But, I know that if I wish to be the best, I must also play with, learn from and compete with the best. And, that is the very reason why I chose him to compare my writing abilities with. The competition I am proposing here is not the one that is driven by jealousy or ego. Not at all. The competition model I am proposing here is the one where one legend inspires another legend in the making.
Yes, I think of myself that way. I know I am a bit narcissistic, but I also believe that your image of self, defines your future. Therefore a legend in the making is what I am. Moving on, this comparison with the best gives me a solid vision of what kind of practice and training I need to put myself through to reach the pinnacle. This mere comparison of my skills with his has prepared and braced up my soul for the kind of struggles James has put in to become the legend I see in him today.
Whosoever I would have compared my skills with would have defined my goals and mental preparedness to get working hard with dedication to realize that goal. And had I not have compared myself with anyone at all, I would be aiming right into the sky with no milestone to set my sight at. I know they say, the sky should be your limit. But, this rhetoric doesn’t always serves a purpose unless you know where in the sky should your limit be.
Moreover, who said, you can’t aim for a higher limit once you have reached the sky. Ergo, when I do get as good as James, I can surely aim for the stars that elude my vision today. Therefore, my approach also helps me break down my path to greatness into certain milestones, one at a time. And, the milestone which I have my eyes on at the moment is to become as good as James. That is all my focus is on at this moment.
And, that highlights another benefit of comparison. I don’t have to be distracted looking out for a purpose in career or life. Comparing myself with James at the moment has automatically given me a purpose to focus all my thoughts and energy into- How to be as good as him? And thus, who you compare yourself with matters a lot in deciphering if comparing yourself with some other figure is actually worth it or not.
And that is how comparing yourself with someone can act as a powerful stimulus for growth in life, and help one find the path they need to traverse to attain that success. And, when one realizes that level of success, they must not stop. Rather, that is the moment to feel proud for what a journey one has traversed and to choose who is the next person you must compare yourself to in order to be even better at what you do.
You know, when I began to share with my fellow writer friends a year ago that the only person I compare myself to as a writer is James, they used to belittle me and thought that James was a professional writer and there was no way someone as prosaic as me could be as good as him. And, that is the problem with our mindset. We miserably fail to acknowledge the fact that the said big person was just as much a commoner some day in the past, as we are today.
James Altucher or Robin Sharma in writing, Floyd Mayweather in boxing, Van Damme and Bruce Lee in martial arts, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in business spheres, are all considered big names to talk about today. And, they all share a common history. Each one of them was a common man, who decided some day in their lives to be better than the most, and not be a commoner in their lives anymore. And, they did it by committing someday to make their name be counted among the best in the world at whatever they do/did.
And, that is the greatest truth in the world which most in the world tend to shut their eyes and ears to. The common person has every bit of potential to be extraordinary in life. And, each one of us commoners can make it happen. Ergo, dare to do it. Dare to compare yourself with the bloody best person you know in the domain of what you want to pursue your life doing. And, then do whatever you got to do to be as good as that person. And, never forget, if that former commoner could make the transition to being an extraordinary person, you have every bit of that ability sequestered in you as well.
And, that is why, I strive to be a better writer every day than I was yesterday, learning from the bloody best writer I know, implementing the strategies which he used to become that masterful self. If hard work combined with his methods could make him a celebrated writer, it can make me the same. Though many would also say that these things only sound doable in words and are not that practical in real life. Well, let me tell you how it is very well practical and achievable.
Back in March 2016, I could hardly write posts as long as 300 words at a go. And, those too would suck. I had a small vocabulary which was no different than what any common English speaker could boast of. I was just getting started back then. Then, I began to master five new words each day. I used to maintain an excel sheet for the words I was learning each day. And, I would invest at least an hour every day trying to master those words by creating sentences with them. This was a daily exercise which I was abiding by as a ritual.
Meanwhile, I was also reading a lot of James’ works. In fact, the first four books I ever read were all works of James’ “Choose Yourself” series. And, during that phase, I learned that James had made a commitment to himself to write at least 3,000 words a day. That immediately struck a chord in my head and I too made a similar commitment to write 1,000 words a day. In the beginning, I would sit there for hours with my eyes digging into the laptop’s screen wondering what else to write.
But, slowly in a few weeks, my head automatically built the stamina, and I began to write posts with that length. The stuff I was churning out was surely deplorable, as my mind was not in a habit to write such long posts on a single topic. But, eventually, I began to churn out 1000 words on a single topic within an hour’s time with not as deplorable. This very experience taught me that we all have great ideas and thoughts in our head, and we just need to dig a bit deeper than we usually do to bring them out.
To be true, the posts I wrote back then, were the best posts I had ever written hitherto then. This commitment of writing 1,000 words every day no matter what, bolstered my belief in my ability to excel as a writer. And, it also made me realize that comparing myself with James’ was actually paying off as adapting to his techniques was really transforming my writing skills super quick. Meanwhile, my mission to master five new words every day was also in progress, which kept ameliorating my writings.
Then with my confidence on an all new level, I extended my daily commitment to 1,500 words trying to get closer to what James had been crunching each day. The goal was to eventually produce longer posts with quality content as James did. And, within a month or so, I was there writing decent articles to the tune of 1,500 words each day. And then, the same way I slowly extended this limit to 2,000 words and then 2,500 words. And, that is where I currently am.
I don’t know how many words does James writes these days at an average. But, back then his daily average was 3,000, and mine today is 2,500 words a day. Yes, his content is way better than mine. But, my content with 2,500 words is way better than what it used to be when I crunched 300 words a day. And, that is a testament to my growth. Now improving my quality and honing my creative edge as a writer will be my next goals to get closer to being as good as James.
And, I would have never made the progress of the scale which I have made over the past year had I not had begun to look up to James’ works for inspiration and his methods for comparison. Had I had compared myself to any mediocre writer, my hard work and the resultant growth would never have been any better than that of a mediocre writer either. I am not saying that I have done a great job. All I am saying is that I, in my opinion, have done a great job when compared to a person who would have compared themselves to someone mediocre or even worse.
Therefore, comparison with others is not always bad. It helps when done against the right person. It’s a powerful and motivating force which when done against someone like James in writing, or Floyd Mayweather in boxing et cetera can reap great benefits in a very less time by offering a well defined goal, a tested path to reach that goal, and an eternal source of inspiration to look up to. Ergo, identify who in your domain you can call the best. And, then strive to be as good as them, and excel to their competency. That kind of comparison would be an asset which would catapult you to greatest of your visions.
I hope this post adds some serious value to the reader’s perspective. Best wishes. Bliss!