How to Win The Comparison Game


One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard over the years of doing this blog was from Maria Shriver … about the importance of not comparing ourselves to others. At a conference she said that the one message she wanted to give women is that “no one person’s path is better than another’s.”

As a 20-something, there is so much pressure to find a path and then measure yourself by that path – from getting a job to getting a promotion, to your apartment, to your travels,  to your friends. Sometimes it seems the grass is always greener on another 20-something’s side. There is always someone richer, smarter, cuter…doing it all faster.

The thing most 40-somethings realize is that these comparisons only hold you back. Other people’s judgments about what the right path is…is just fear they haven’t made the right choices themselves. A way to validate where they are. Once you let go of the pressure of what you think you should achieve by a certain age, you can find new paths, take different paths and have more fun along the way. Try to free yourself from this pressure in your twenties.  Try to stop thinking of 30, or any set age, as a deadline, a window, an end of an era. Try not to think of every decision as a life contract.

One 40-something I interviewed in Detroit had an interesting tactic to make decisions less looming. She imagines that her lifespan will be 500 years instead of 80 or so. Then it takes the pressure of time off your decision. That may help you think about how you really feel about the decision when you take away the baggage of time. Of course, you have to layer the practicality of time back in to the process for some decisions, but it’s a great way to put things in perspective!

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