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  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: Whom to compare yourself to + The 7 Habits

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

A man at the computer not coming to bed because "someone is wrong on the internet"

1 idea: Whom to compare yourself to

“Your goal is not to prove yourself but to keep improving yourself.” – Adam Grant

If you want to get better, spend more time comparing yourself. But be very careful whom you choose to compare yourself to.

Comparing ourselves to others can sometimes inspire us to do more or do better. For instance, my friend Derek is remarkably teachable and humble. Every time I notice how quickly he’s growing, it spurs me on, too. That’s a good thing.

But most of the time, comparing ourselves to others makes us feel either insecure or superior. If I start to feel inadequate because I'm not improving as fast as Derek is, I’m tempted to change our basis of comparison so that I’m suddenly winning. I might say, Well sure, he’s improving, but just look at his ___________ (marriage, family, finances, or any other area where he seems to be struggling). Overall, I’m really doing well compared to him. This sense of superiority makes me feel better about myself even if my judgment is not grounded in reality.

But the tradeoff for that momentary peace is terrible. This kind of thinking skews my views toward my friend and slams the brakes on my own growth.

So what’s a better alternative to comparing yourself to others? 

I’d argue that it’s comparing your current self to your past self.

In the grand scheme, it doesn't matter if I’m better than Derek or not. What matters is if I’m better today that I was yesterday. Did I learn anything new on the job today? Am I becoming more patient with my kids? How is my communication with my spouse different today than a year ago? These questions produce far more fruit than looking across the table at my competitors. 

As Rabbi Zusya said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?’”


What about you?

  • What’s a mistake you made yesterday that you could learn from today?

  • When are you choosing contentment or distraction over becoming more of who you were meant to be?

  • Who are you comparing yourself to right now? What’s that doing for you?

1 resource: The 7 Habits

Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People makes a great case for character development and gives invaluable frameworks for making decisions (e.g., the Eisenhower Matrix). Even though the book has sold a whopping 40 million copies, I’m always surprised how many people haven’t read it (or haven’t read it in the last five years). If you want to lean into the journey of personal growth, this book is a great guide.

You can find the book on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Book cover of Crucial Conversations

Note: If you purchase a book via the link above, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you).


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