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Comparisons Are Tricky

One of my favorite quotes comes from Amy Morin, who is a psychotherapist and coaches people on how to be mentally tough. (Several people actually claim this quote but I like how she speaks to it.) She says, “The only person you should compare yourself to, is the person you were yesterday.” I really like this on the personal level for a number of reasons. Everybody has different circumstances, different opportunities, different resources, different obstacles, different connections to people, so to look at your friends lives on social media or the people living on your street and define your success based on what they are experiencing, is somewhat unfair isn’t it?

What is the impact of this on us personally? When you see people doing better than you are it can cause you pain, regret, envy, jealousy, anger or maybe it just flat depresses you. Does that make us petty? I think it makes us human, but we can choose not to do that anymore, I know I have and it has made a big difference. Consider this through the lens of social media and some recent research that says using social media can actually cause depression.

I bring this up because every holiday I start getting calls from retailers wanting to know how everyone else did with business, and yesterday was no exception. My sources tell me that based on a poll of some top retailers out there, the average increase was about 5-7%. So if your business was up 10% should you feel good about that? Maybe not, if your last year’s numbers were horrible so what you were up against was easy to beat. Or if you only showed a 2-3% increase this year but did it with one less store, or in spite of losing a big account.

Comparisons aren’t so bad as a reference point but don’t give them too much weight unless you consider all of the variables. My approach is to look at other people or companies and how they are doing with some regard, but I rely more on things like…

  • Am I executing my strategy and playing my game?
  • Are the metrics I set for myself being met or exceeded and if not why not?
  • How am I handling the roadblocks put in front of me?
  • Do I have the resources I need to accomplish my goal and if not, how do I acquire them?

If your competitor is playing the short game, their results will look a lot different than yours if you are playing the long game of slow and steady growth. So be really careful in how you analyze external factors.

I want to finish with a strong statement about social media. At first, Facebook and other platforms were pretty cool to be able to connect/re-connect with people, share stories, keep up with how others were doing, and learn about new things. Now, so much of it has turned into a place for people to not only share their life but brag about how great their life is.  From a place to have a healthy debate to a bitch session where you troll people and alienate them for believing something different than what you believe. If you have teenage kids as I do, you can take these trends and magnify them by a lot and now you know what they are dealing with. In many ways, it’s not healthy. If you haven’t done it already, take a vacation from your phone in that way and see what happens, you might be surprised. Don’t get me wrong, social media can be an awesome tool if used the right way, but don’t let it become a negative force!

Have you made the mistake of comparing yourself or your company to the wrong things? Has social media become a negative thing for you or your family? Share in the comments section so others can learn!


6 thoughts on “Comparisons Are Tricky

  1. Great insight as always Quinn! I would say that if you haven’t seen social as a negative thing in your life then you’re not looking deep enough into yourself. I have definitely seen screen time in general harm time with my children but I am generally aware enough to put it down as soon as I notice it. It is a great tool, like you said, but it can feed the “bad wolf” without too much effort and lead to negative thoughts about your life that otherwise would have never come up.

    1. Thanks Austin! No doubt it will creep into family time, it has for me as well! I’m not sure people fully appreciate the negative side of social media.

  2. I put a bullseye on someone I want to beat or be on par with. This is someone I see doing everything right and reaping the rewards, then I often ask them for advice or guidance. Eventually, you become that person that everyone targets. You should always have it go both ways. Being content has no place in the sales world.

  3. Really good read.

    I’m glad to see this kind of message gaining traction since I feel it’s an important one for people to hear. You said you have teenagers- and given the nature of this message, I’m going to ask if you’ve read a book called The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt? If not, I highly, highly recommend it. They are two college professors who take a close-up look at what is causing the recent upswing in self-reported depression and anxiety that has been especially apparent in the newest generation (iGen or the Internet Generation). There are many factors, but they put a heavy emphasis on social media and referenced studies that point to levels of depression having a positive correlation (meaning both rise together) to the number of hours (over two) spent on social media. It’s a very insightful read and it’s had a lot of useful information that I’ve been able to apply to my own life, so I would image it would give you a whole new bucketful of inspirational topics to write about. If you’re not a big reader (like me) then I recommend giving it a listen on Audible. I get all my best information crunching done during my daily commute (such as listening to Dos Marcos).

    Look forward to the next post!
    -Ashley from Moore’s Sleep World

    1. Thanks for reading and listening Ashley! I have not read the book you mention but I will check that out. Anything that gives us an edge to parent teenagers in this era of technology! We have to take this stuff seriously. Tell everyone hello for me at Moore’s!

  4. Yes, I also follow Amy’s trick. I always compare my days. What I did yesterday and what I’m doing today. This comparison makes a clear concept of my life. People are concern about their life but according to Amy, it’s too easy. I agree with Amy too.

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