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Feb 02, 2023

Most of us are conditioned to compare things. We learn at a young age to compare, to see which one is bigger or smaller, taller or shorter, more or less, brighter or darker, faster or slower. As we get older, we do comparisons in mathematics. We compare literature by different authors. We compare art of different periods. In sports, there are tournaments, competitions, races to compare, to see who is considered the best given the set rules.

The act of comparing is neutral. Putting two things side by side and analyze their characteristics. It is neither a good nor a bad thing.

Until you make the comparison mean something.

Is the comparison neutral? Is it lifting you up or is it weighing you down?

It all depends on what you think of the comparison.

Say you are comparing yourself to a fellow colleague. That colleague is more efficient in seeing patients than you and going home sooner than you.

What are you thinking of it?

If you are thinking, woe is me, I am as good as I can be now. I will never be good enough. I will never catch up. I will always be inferior. All this is not serving you. First of all, as much as it may feel very true to you, ask yourself, are those statements true? Is it possible that even on of them is not true? Is it possible that it may not be true in the future?

The inferior complex type of comparison makes you feel worse than before you put the two things next to each other. The invisible heavy burden in your mind may start to trigger memories of the past when you had similar feelings. The load in your brain is getting bigger and bigger. You extra-weighted self is shutting down, stuck in the land of not-good-enough. You feel trapped. You are likely to do things slower, subconsciously. You are likely not being kind to yourself in other aspects of your life. The result is that you remain the same at work, or even take a step back with negative progress.

What if you use a different perspective to view the same comparison?

Take this perspective as an example. If you are thinking, if my colleague can do it, I can do it too. How do you feel when you are thinking this? Possibly hopeful, excited about the possible better future of increase efficiency, or even curious about how it is going to happen. When you feel hopeful, it opens up your mind to come up with ideas and options which otherwise will remain hidden in an under-utilized part of your brain. You will want to find out how to be better, faster and learn from your colleague or other people. You will be more willing to learn and make progress. Before you know it, you will be as efficient or even more efficient than your colleague. All because you think that it is possible for you to do so.

Comparing is not a bad thing. It is how or what you think of the comparison determines what you feel about it. Ask yourself next time when you are comparing things. Is it a helpful type of comparison? If not, how can you change the angle to look at the situation? I encourage you to keep comparing in a constructive way. This is how we learn and grow to be a better version of ourselves.

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