Compared To What?

A Perspective To Consider About Comparison

We survived! I cannot tell you how excited I am when daylight savings time comes around. I feel like I can breathe again and that winter is finally saying its goodbye. Now, don’t get me wrong, I despise it’s effects on our sleep cycles and we had one crazy late morning this past Monday.  Extra coffee, anyone? But, I will take the extra hour of sunlight in the evening and welcome the warmer temps for sure, though.

A couple of weeks ago, on the very first week of warmer temps forecasted in Tennessee, my husband showed me an email he had written to send out to his team at work. As I re-read it a few times to help him edit it, I could not get all of you out of my mind.  It reminded me once again, that the business world and our worlds at home are really not that much different.  I asked him if I could share it with all of you.  I hope it resonates and encourages you today.


Compared To What?

By Daniel Tardy

This weekend the weather will be sunny with highs in the mid to upper 60’s. If you’re out and about you’ll likely to see people breaking out the flip flops, T-Shirts and celebrating the first signs of Spring; I plan to be one of them.

However, I’ve always found it interesting that the exact same weather pattern in the Fall, usually a Saturday with highs DROPPING into the mid 60’s, generally serves as opening season for hoodies, winter boots and hot chocolate.

So how is it that the same external circumstances can result in such different adaptations in our behavior?

Maybe this irrational response just stems from a natural desire for change and our wardrobe selection represents an effort to encourage the new season into existence….I know that I’ve prematurely and consciously shed some outer layers this time of year, just to trick myself into feeling like warmer days are upon us; I’m sure this mind game is part of it.

But there’s actually another factor at play on the physiological front. It’s a phenomenon known as acclimatization. This is a process where our bodies really do adapt at the molecular level based on our external environment. So compared to what the temperature has been all winter (or summer)… 65 degrees really does feel different in the spring compared to the fall because of the adaptations taking place in our bodies.

This is all amusing when we’re talking about our response to the weather, but what should alarm us is how quickly our minds tend to acclimate to environmental factors around us and the culture we live in. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, and while competition can serve as a helpful tool, it is also double edged sword.

In the world of psychology, social comparison theory states that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others.

COMPARISON IS A TRAP

I believe that inside each of us is the ‘very best version’ of ourselves. Unfortunately, we don’t become this person by comparing our behavior to others. Wanting to be the best in the company is great…until you are. Then what? What will drive you then? Being the best in the country? Who’s to say THAT standard is successful relative to what YOU are capable of? Comparison thinking only says I am successful COMPARED to someone else, but it says nothing about how I rank against what I am actually capable of.

Someone will win the election this fall, and you will likely vote for the one who is your favorite compared to…fill in the blank. But do we really believe that any of the candidates will be a truly great president? First place is not synonymous with greatness.

I want to encourage you to never think about success in terms of who you’re better than.

Statements like, ‘Well, I’m not perfect, but at least I’m better than…’ only keep us trapped in our comfort zone, and comfort doesn’t make us better.

My hope is that you will strive every day for achieving YOUR standard of success…if you are honest with yourself about what this standard is, I believe it will be higher than anyone else will ever have for you…even in a high performance culture like ours.

You are too valuable to let the weather dictate your destiny.


Join The Conversation: How do you allow ‘the weather’ or environment in your own life to dictate your destiny? What does success look like to YOU? You can leave a comment by clicking here.