Is comparing yourself to others bad?
19 min read

Is comparing yourself to others bad?

Is comparing yourself to others bad?

I wanted to change the scene of this months post a bit. This blog as I mentioned in my first post is as much a record of our financial independence journey as it is a way to inform people of different ideas, primarily centred around money. As well as getting as many people started as possible. Don't worry I will be bringing today's topic full circle toward money. However, I thought I would change it up a bit and talk about something slightly different today. Since I joined Instagram, I've been bombarded by a wave of personal finance pages and quotes on my discovery page. I saw these pages and I immediately started feeling a sense of inadequacy. A sense of "who am I? look at how well all of these other pages are doing"

Why do we feel the need to compare?

I think it is very important to talk about this feeling and what the ultimate implications of these feelings are on people. I mentioned how I saw these large pages with big followings and immediately felt out of place. A fraud, not good enough. I'm sure I can't be the only one right? In this short article on the Very Well mind blog, they detail two kinds of social comparisons experienced by people today.

Upward Social Comparison

This takes place when we compare ourselves with those who we believe are better than us. These upward comparisons often focus on the desire to improve our current status or level of ability. We might compare ourselves to someone better off and look for ways that we can achieve similar results.

Downward Social Comparison

You might then compare your abilities to a friend who couldn't make a basket to save his life. In comparison, your performance is much better. This is an example of downward social comparison. In this case, observing your friend’s poor skills actually makes you feel even better about your own abilities.

What I've often experienced on social media is a combination of both of these. Before my blog, I did not have an Instagram account for over a year. More importantly, the article refers to another phrase that probably more accurately describes the situation I find myself in.

Some comparisons might make you feel inadequate and less likely to pursue a goal, while others give you confidence and help boost your self-esteem.

Thinking a bit

I think this quote was the one that resonated with me the most over the last couple of weeks. I've felt deflated and frustrated at a couple of things.

  • We as a family haven't reached our financial goals yet.
  • Many of these pages had massive amounts of followers.

I started thinking a bit and I realised that this feeling is normal. It was also a chance for me to grow as a person. As I was scrolling through all of these pages, I realised that if my actual goal is to make more people aware of financial freedom, I should be rejoicing! But why was it so difficult? To be honest I realised that I’ve probably been taught all my life that comparing myself to others is normal. I suppose this plays quite nicely into modern society and the “dream life”. Get a car and home you can’t afford with money you don’t have to impress people you most likely don’t care about.

Now I’ve been trying my best over the past couple of years to live a meaningful life and direct the course of our family in a different direction, aka FIRE. However for some reason when it came to social media my immediate response was the default one. “I wish that was me, I want that.”

So here I am writing to you, my readers!

The tortoise and the hare

I’ve noticed a trend in my life, and I think it might really help a couple of people out there. I’ve found that if you stick to something for an extended period of time, you are able to see the desired outcome. As I’m sure we all know the wonderful kids tale of the tale, the tortoise manages to beat the hare by steadily keeping pace in the race and never stopping.

Ali Abdaal is a person who I’ve found very inspiring. He’s seen great success over the past few years, however, he’s been diligently creating and publishing videos for the past 2 years on YouTube.  You’ll also find that a lot of self-help gurus promote this line of thinking.

Here is his video detailing how he managed to become so successful on YouTube Inspiring stuff.

Get there when you get there

Alright, I promised I would bring it back full circle to money and your financial independence journey. Well, here it is. As I’m sure you may or may not know, my best friend has made quite a bit of money in the crypto world.

I’ve sometimes looked at his gains and thought, what if I jumped on the crypto train early on? Would I have a lot more money now? Possibly. I’ve also seen a lot of people lose a tremendous amount of money during the 2017 crypto spike. Now he’s in a place where his crypto is a part of his diversified asset class. He has a profitable business and some other things.

For us, the idea of putting something in crypto that doesn’t have a proven track record does not make sense. Instead, we’re on a proven path to wealth. It might take 8 - 15 years depending on the markets. I’m no fortune teller but that is our plan as I’m sure you are aware.

The point I am trying to make is that it is ok to get there when we get there. It’s ok for you to get there when you get there. You have to be on the journey though.

That’s going to do it for this one folks. I know this is a change of pace from my normal posts, however, I know that many people will be in a similar situation. If this has helped you at all, please share it with your friends or anyone you feel would get value from this.

Also please sign up to the newsletter if you haven’t already. I will share some helpful tips and thoughts with you every other week.

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  • Our portfolio.
  • Our monthly budget breakdown.
  • My monthly book review.
  • Campfire Stories, where I share conversations I am having with people around FIRE and investing.
  • Future things! I will aim to add more valuable things here in the future.

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