…from my next book, Yes Changes Everything! Coming soon!
In Dream Come True, I wrote about something I call The Comparison Game, the incredible burden of comparing ourselves to other people:
We spend waaay too much time looking at everyone else, reading about “overnight” successes (who have almost always worked 10 years behind the scenes before getting their big break), about prodigies and instant billionaires.
Then, after packing all this into our brains and hearts, we innocently take a look in the mirror and see…what exactly? Truth. Ourselves. Our beautiful, hardworking, honest, naked selves. How—HOW can this compare to the well-written headlines, gorgeous photography, and carefully edited stories showcasing the best of the best and making dream-reaching look so easy and instant in 100 words or less?
The problem is, we’re looking at other people’s outsides with our insides. It’s apples and oranges! We’re comparing the naked truth about ourselves to other people’s made-for-primetime stories! You see? Apples and oranges! Or more like refrigerators and sunscreen: NOTHING in common.
…Here’s the truth—and please remember this one down in your beautiful bones—we are different. That’s it. That’s the reason comparison is such a game in the first place. We are each as unique as our fingerprints, and so comparison, in a very real way, is ridiculous.
…the Comparison Game is a mediocrity magnet that dream seekers have to resist with everything we’ve got. It is the status quo’s most useful weapon, a tiny seed of “You are weird” and “Be ashamed of your out-of-the-box ideas” and “You want to try WHAT?” that takes root if we water it with belief, time, and attention.
We’re not better or worse than anyone else, beautiful someone. We’re different from everyone else! This is the real sneaky part of this Comparison Game and a huge way in which it blocks the yes that changes everything. Comparison encourages us to be the same — to ditch the yes that changes everything in favor of the yes that makes us cookie-cutter identical to everyone around us.
How can that be good?
If we are creating ourselves by looking at everyone else and making our choices based on theirs, we will all end up looking exactly the same. (“Number 12 Looks Just Like You” is an episode of the original Twilight Zone about this. It’s based on “The Beautiful People,” a fable by Charles Beaumont about a girl in a futuristic society where everyone has plastic surgery to look identical—seriously creepy, but unforgettable and worth watching!)
And with all this shaping ourselves to be just like everybody else, there’s absolutely no room for the yes the changes everything for us and the people we love in our one-of-a-kind lives.
We thrive as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a world based on our uniqueness as individuals coming together to create something bigger and better (and definitely more interesting!) as a whole.