KEEP YOUR FOCUS ON YOURSELF – THE PROBLEM WITH COMPARISON

Time for another little story! I remember I was once in a job interview for a company I really liked and really wanted to work for. I was 18, barely out of high school. It was a group interview and there were three other people that applied for the job. When the interviewer asked about our past experiences and qualities as employees, I soon realised that the other three women sitting in the table were far more experienced, educated and suitable for the job than me. It didn’t make it any easier that the one sitting next to me had the same name as me, only she was ten years older, more experienced and had excellent speaking skills.

I could have told the interviewer how I’m eager to learn anything and solving problems gets me excited. I could have shown all of them that age is just a number and my driven attitude is absolutely the reason they should hire me. Instead, I let all my insecurities get the best of me, I was very nervous and my mind blacked out. When I was asked something my mind went to a panic mode and I didn’t know what to say. I still remember how awkward it was, and I didn’t get the job.

A few pics from our walk around the colourful Bijlmermeer

The minute I started to believe I’m not as good as them, it was over for me. It’s so very difficult and so very important to master your mind in situations like this. Comparing yourself to others will only take your focus away from your own performance – which is the only one that should matter to you.

Whatever you want to do in life, you’ll always meet people that are more skilled than you. Sometimes you’ll even have to compete with them. It is not really them you’ll be competing with, it’s your own mind and the parrot of insecurities sitting on your shoulder. The one who can keep their focus in situations like this is always the winner.

It was not at all necessary for me to worry about others. We all have our own strengths, talents and purposes, might not be the same as others but that’s great. No one is perfect and that’s why even a workplace always needs all kinds of people. Some can encourage others, some can think in multiple angles, some are very productive, creative or smart. We’re not all the same and we don’t even need to be because we’re all on our own journey.

When it comes to skills – because even handling a job interview like a pro is a skill, truly – it’s silly to compare yourself to others. My upstairs neighbour is a good pianist, I’ve heard them through the ceiling. Sometimes when I’m listening I think about how I’d love to play piano like that too. Then I remember that I’ve tried to learn but haven’t committed myself to it, I’m more passionate about other things. 

A metro or train station, what a cool project for the one who designed all this!

See that’s another thing, people are often great at what they are passionate about: that drive keeps them practising. That’s something to think about.

We all have our passions, most likely you have many. Some have a dozen, some have a few but your skills depend on what you choose to focus on. If you work on a million projects at the same time, you may not be great at any one thing, and at the same time the one who chooses their favorite one and gives all their focus on it, will probably become very good at it. If you keep comparing yourself, especially as a beginner, to someone who has practised for a long time, you’re not going to feel good about yourself.

I wasn’t the best at interviews at the time, still am not, but I can write, I can sing, I can create. I still have talents. I don’t suck as a person if I fail sometimes, and neither do you, even though it’s easy to think so. You just have to learn to pick yourself up after failing and just keep trying.

Although there are miracle child talents auditioning in talent competitions – 5-year-olds singing better than Adele and what not – they’ve still probably had lots of singing lessons regularly before they hopped on that stage. If you focus hard and make it a priority, you too can become great at what you want. Do you have what it takes: do you want to give it your time and energy, focus and attention, heart and soul with every drop of effort you got? Maybe it’s not always that serious but maybe you realise what I mean. People who are doing something well… you know it’s not their first time doing it. 🙂

My shoes were soaking wet after this walk… just another evening in Amsterdam!

Even if you do your best and still feel like other people do it better, remind yourself that you have a different kind of vision, no one can do it exactly like you. No matter what you do, there is room in this world for your unique talents too. If you’d like to be better, be inspired by others and keep practising. That way you too can be great some day.

…aand tell that parrot on your shoulder to shut up. You’re doing your best after all. 🙂

What kind of experiences have YOU had with comparison? Have you managed to minimize it? Tell me in the comments! x

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