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Comparison Olympics

Comparison Olympics ~ 

Thinking Patterns Ranging From Helpful to Headwreck…
Tokyo 2020 is days away and that reminds me of a phrase I use so often in my Coaching work with clients which is “Comparison Olympics”. This simply means the mental comparison we do so often in our thinking patterns, the constant compare cycle. In psychology they call this type of thinking “compare and despair”, I compare myself to others and I despair that I am not doing as well as they are, or how I think they are doing which is more likely!
This “compare and despair” I have taken artistic licence to rename the “Comparison Olympics” and this is for so many reasons. I think one of the reasons is that it is so incessant, this constant comparing, this internal evaluation system.
Of course there are many benefits to comparison it certainly can be helpful, it drives us on and motivates us to get out there, get in the game, get ahead of the game if we can. Those interested in evolution would say there are so many darwinistic benefits, the survival of the fittest and all that goes with that. However  just like with anything that exists in our world when the balance is tipped in the negative, the going can definitely start to get tough as Billy Ocean Sang and here comes the world of moving from helpful to headwreck.
It starts at the very beginning I believe, think of the Parents to Be in the waiting room at the Antenatal appointments comparing pregnancy notes, to the early days at school where our progress can be compared to our classmates (indeed this can continue for our entire educational lives), the teenage years and how we are handling or not handling so many changes at once, college, working lives, the partners we may chose, we might have our own kids then and the comparing starts with our friends kids, our neighbours, it just goes on forever. We all have come across this I am sure and lots of times it can serve a constructive purpose but what about when it doesn’t?
When it isn’t helpful I believe and this is based honestly on both professional and personal experience I have in my own mileage of life is when:
1. It’s very dominant in your thinking, it’s a thinking style is that is nearly or always “on” this Comparison Olympics…
2. You don’t give yourself a break whatsoever, don’t recognize your own success and are defaulting to how great everybody else is doing and what a mess you are making of things yourself..
I work with people every day of the week who are very human and very real as I believe I am myself, and we are all at risk of our own thinking patterns simply not giving us a break. I get this at many levels and I am trained to help anybody who is struggling in this regard as it can have so many impacts across our lives and of course in terms of our careers, educational journeys and opportunities in general.
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