It is only human that once in a while we are tempted to compare our lives to those of our peers especially the high-flying. Sometimes, it is necessary to compare ourselves to more successful people because it helps you know what is possible but most times it may evoke envy, jealousy and low self-esteem.
Timothy Mukisa, the chief executive officer at MIRT Uganda, says he cannot help but compare his progress with that of his agemates. “Sometimes I feel as if I am lagging behind and other people’s lives are moving way faster than my own. While it motivates me to see my agemates excel, I have to remind myself that I am not looking at their life totally to avoid getting jealous,” Mukisa explains.
He discourages this kind of comparison unless it is being done rationally because irrationality evokes jealousy thereby distracting one from positively pursuing and building their career and business.
Raising the bar
As a self-employed businessman, Deus Tumuhaise, says he usually compares the performance of his business to that of his peers.
“I observe their assets, business reach and adjust mine accordingly. For me, that comparison helps me set the pace,” he adds. Tumuhaise adds that comparing yourself with those who have already achieved significant success in your field can help you set new goals, and encourage your competitive spirit.
Appreciate our differences
Cleophus Bagumire, a community psychologist, notes that comparing your career growth to that of your age-mates is counterproductive because we are unique who should not have a similar life trajectory. “I, instead of comparing my life to others, endeavour to use my God-given talents to achieve goals, my way,” he adds.
Similarly, Phiona Abaasa says she does not compare herself to her peers because she is aware that each individual charts out a different path in their life in response to the opportunities they have found and the challenges. “However, I believe that destiny is never concluded until the fat lady sings. I must also say I admire my agemates who have achieved what I am yet to and that encourages me to struggle more,” Abaasa reveals.
As Abaasa graciously points out, your peers’ success can serve as an eye-opener for growing your own career.
But Marianne Namanya, a marketing executive, discourages comparison noting that when you do that you are basically saying you should be more like others because who you are is not enough.
“We grow differently in different fields and we have different gifts, abilities, experiences, and opportunities. The irony of life is that the person you think has it all together might also be feeling lost,” Namanya explains.
When jealousy bites
If you find yourself focusing far too much on other people, stop. “While it is important to keep up with the activities of people in your field, spending an unhealthy amount of time and energy on them is more harmful than it is helpful. By the same token, if people are jealous of your successes, distance yourself from them, too,” Namanya asserts.
“If those around you constantly denigrate your accomplishments to make themselves feel better, you are probably better off without them in your life,” she adds.