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Are you suffering from comparisonitis?

By December 1, 2014Values

David’s a friend of mine.

Only David isn’t his real name. I’m keeping his identity under wraps for this particular story because: mystery.

Let me tell you a little something about David.

*Clasps hands together, places elbows on desk and leans slowly forward*

David has been starting businesses for years.

When I say starting businesses, I mean:

– Having a new business idea (read: something he came up with at 4.15am after consulting his friend Jack Daniels)
– Thinking of a cool sounding website and buying the domain name
– Writing the copy for the site and getting a second opinion on it
– ‘Researching’ his competitors whilst simultaneously setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts
– Speaking to a few would-be customers over a coffee to figure out how to market to them
– Losing interest in the entire thing
– Moving to the next shiny idea

He does this repeatedly. In that order. Every single time.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that he hasn’t ever owned an actual business. He’s had a lot of ideas. But taking one and making money? Not his strong suit.

When I talk to David about this, he always tells me he’s waiting for the right idea. Because once he has the right one, he’ll do all he can to make it work.

Upon further probing (white lab-coat adorned), he also tells me every idea he has, has already been taken. And the second he realises this, he loses interest in the business.

Now David ain’t no spring chicken (only a spring chicken’s a spring chicken). He knows that competition in a market is a good thing. It means customers already exist. Customers that are already buying what he wants to sell.

But the thing that really stops David from ever moving forward with his idea? Is when he starts looking into the competition and seeing what they’re up to.

And that’s when a case of comparisonitis paralyses him.

You know the condition, right? It’s defined as:

Comparisonisis
/kəmˈparɪs(ə)n(ay)tus/
Noun
A deeply troubling condition when an individual over-analyses other individuals to assess their talents in a particular area. Said analysis results in, well, no actual business being started.

As it happens, David isn’t the only person suffering from it.

Just go onto any Facebook page made for a course on starting a business and search the term ‘compare’ and you read gems like:

“When I see all the incredible things you’re all doing, I feel a tug of war in my heart. On one hand, it’s inspiring. On the other, it’s demoralizing because I am so far from realizing my dream and I wonder if I’ll ever get there.”

“I look at the kind of money other coaches are making and can’t help but feel jealous. There. I said it.”

“When I see the Facebook likes, Twitter followers etc of others going up, I can’t help but feel inadequate in comparison.”

Chilling.

There’s a difference between having a healthy interest in what others in your market are doing, and having an ache in your heart when you read of their success (especially when you’re not getting any. Success, that is, not the other stuff. I’m sure you’re getting pah-lenty of that *wink*)

Comparing yourself to others keeps you small.

And the only way to stop doing it? Is to stop fucking doing it.

Turn off alerts from Facebook groups you’re part of
Stop following competitors on Twitter
Don’t analyse the sales page of a new product launch that isn’t yours

Just stop.

Sure, you may miss out on a few updates, but how much do you really care about Jessie McCue and her latest webinar on how to make a billion in 2 days?

This is a shout-out to all the David’s out there.

I get it. You’re not pulling in the dollars or clients like you’d hoped. You’re not seeing the momentum of a thriving business. You may not even have a business to speak of yet.

But the way you get all of that is to focus on yourself. Ignore the rest. Do everything you can to build yourself up.

Because this? Is the only time selfish looks good on you.

6 Comments

  • Liz says:

    Spectacular as always, Raz! I am *SUCH* a David.

  • Steve says:

    It’s such a deadly trap – comparing yourself that is. When you look at what other people are doing, you can start to feel small. It’s hard to see how you can get from your current place to where they are. But that’s totally the wrong approach. They got where they are one way, but that doesn’t mean you’ll do it the exact same way. I try to remind myself that I’m my own person and what I say and do is something that is uniquely my own. No one else can be me and if I can just tap into that, I can do a lot more – whether I see people doing something similar or not.

    • I like that a lot – that you can do more, despite what others are doing. It would be an interesting experiment to stop following/reading about all competitors and seeing how this impacts business. Hhmmm …. 2015 challenge methinks.

  • KW Stout says:

    If you try to be like someone else or follow in their footsteps, you’ll always be one step behind. The only person we are guaranteed to be best at is ourselves. When we drop the act and build ourselves up there is no longer any competition – besides the person in the mirror.

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