C-Suite Advisory

The Comparison Trap: Effects Of Comparisons

Look at the world around you. I mean literally, go to a supermarket to buy tomatoes. Do you notice that almost all of them have the same color, size, and smell? It is very convenient for the industry to have products that are all the same. This way, they can manage the production, and they don’t have a fear of facing any surprises.

The same rule applies to people. Companies expect a specific set of skills from their employees to be able to predict their performance. This doesn’t have its boundaries to the evil intentions of people who want to destroy our happiness. It only happens because the world needs to be organized, and the absence of surprises works in that direction.

The system is strict, and comparison is now happening over the details on people. Comparing stuff is one thing, but comparing yourself to the rest of the world is a whole different story. The social comparison refers to the behavior where we tend to compare ourselves with other people. And guess what? We always find ourselves ”less” compared to others.

In addition to that, we compare ourselves now with ourselves in the past. Again the updated version is often less spectacular. This is the so-called nostalgia and is accompanied by a negative feeling. So what are the effects of this mechanism?

  1. Awareness
    The most crucial factor that has let comparison enter our lives is that it gives us a version of reality. Comparison is an extra tool to try to understand the world; it is a useful tool and a skill that our brain is equipped with to survive on the planet. Most of the time, it is not helpful because we tend to overdo it. We may dislike being compared, but let’s face it, the comparison provides a perspective of how the world is and where we stand. What is above us, and what is underneath?

  2. Self-awareness
    For those who are more skeptical, this goes a little deeper. If we pay attention to what we tend to compare, we will reach conclusions regarding our core values. There are thousands of things around us that we can turn our attention to, but we choose specific topics. For some people, it is the appearance, and for others, it’s what’s inside that matters. It is what they owe and how wealthy they are, and for others, it is the things that other people have the luck to enjoy. Take a look at what you tend to compare, and you will discover a lot of things about yourself.

  3. Being motivated
    When we realize other people may be one step ahead of us, we often get scared. Unfortunately, many times we have to feel threatened to take action. Comparison can work in that direction. We see other people, notice how they are, and the level of success they have achieved, and we start to take action and work too. As long as this works for our benefit, it is welcome in our lives.

  4. Low self-esteem
    Most of the time, the constant comparison doesn’t end up to the desired change. Our society is cruel, and it doesn’t leave any room for being different. It also does not forgive those who want to differentiate. Comparing may be essential from time to time, but it will backfire at some point. You can compare yourself or other people as long as this doesn’t turn into criticism over yourself. People who compare too much have a magical way to find themselves inadequate. They never compare themselves to people who are less wealthy, happy, or good looking. They always compare themselves to people who are supposed to be more successful. Remember, you can be anything, but you cannot be everything!

  5. Depression
    Depression is hiding along the way when you take down that road. Those who compare a lot seem to try to find a way to reach a negative conclusion. If it was not the promotion of their colleague, it would be the marriage of their best friend. This way, they will always have a way to feel depressed. Being grateful for what you have and stop being in a situation where you are continually chasing what you miss is the path to wisdom. The comparison will not be allied to you for that purpose.


Written by Anna Siampani.

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Anna Siampani
Anna Siampani, Lifestyle Editorial Director at the CEOWORLD magazine, working with reporters covering the luxury travel, high-end fashion, hospitality, and lifestyle industries. As lifestyle editorial director, Anna oversees CEOWORLD magazine's daily digital editorial operations, editing and writing features, essays, news, and other content, in addition to editing the magazine's cover stories, astrology pages, and more. You can reach Anna by mail at anna@ceoworld.biz