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lostinyoureyes's avatar

I am motivated most by comparing myself to peers. Is that wrong?

Asked by lostinyoureyes (1118points) February 25th, 2010

I just realized that a lot of the improvements I’ve made in my life have always been made to stay one step ahead of certain people. Especially people close to me. After coming to this realization, I feel like such a shitty person. I should do things for myself and not for others…

To give an example, I’ve had a goal to improve my social life but have been slacking as of late. I noticed my best friend suddenly making the same effort and now I am more motivated than ever. And I can’t even tell if it’s because I want to be better than her, or if I just got reminded that I haven’t taken any action for my goal.

I just feel wrong for feeling this way. I’m not normally a competitive person either. Should I be feeling this way?

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20 Answers

Bronny's avatar

I think this is normal.

The fact that you are recognizing that it could be slightly shady of you means that you are in fact a person with GREAT potential to be wonderful and are just trying to move towards that goal.

You can monitor your progress by both comparing yourself and also by involving others so that they can grow with you towards the same goal.

ETpro's avatar

If it is working to improve you and your life, then I see it as a positive.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It’s ok as long as they’re not comparing themselves to you as well… That would be a little redundant and circular.

Blackberry's avatar

Everyone does it to different degrees. It’s like a survival mechanism, if someone is becoming better than you, you of course naturally will compete because we all know that the better option is selected.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I think that you’ve got healthy goals, that helps. Some people just work that way. Eventually, you’ll get into a groove and the competition thing will just fall away.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If it won’t make you feel bad, I’d venture the opinion that this is pretty “normal”. I think exceptional people (like Tiger Woods—in golf—or Michael Jordan and other truly exceptional and gifted athletes, or Warren Buffet in business, etc.) set goals independent of the rest of the world, because they already know that the rest of the world has no benchmark for them to match against.

I’m not exceptional in that way, and I don’t personally know many people who are. Most of us rise to the level of our “competition” ... or other associates. It’s how evolution works, after all. I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

I feel bad when I “play down to” a poorer competitor’s level, but anything that causes me to sharpen up and “play better” I take as a positive.

davidbetterman's avatar

Comparing yourself to anybody indicates weakness of character.
Try to just be yourself and don’t concern yourself with being like the other kids.

kheredia's avatar

I think that as long as you’re not bringing anybody down or making somebody feel bad about themselves then you’re fine. Just keep in mind that your success in life may not be somebody else’s success. Everybody has their own definition of success. So in the end you are working to improve yourself and not to be better than somebody else. Just some food for thought.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Every one competes many just do uppity to admit it. You compete in school to be the best sports team, player, most popular, you compete to be valedictorian. When you are in college many battle to be suma cum laude. You get into the business world you fight to get to middle management, shift captain, divisional manager, etc. Many people right now are in trouble because they purchased too much stuff they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t know. Many people are looking for that report card, how they stack up to their neighbors, family, community, do they have the best car, and equal house, the closer you can be or how far above those you live around determines if you have an ‘A’ or a ‘C’. America became the great nation because people were pushed by other people. With out people striving to go above and beyond we might be slightly better than some 3rd world nation. Be glad you have something to motivate you less you dwell in the ranks of the mundane and the mediocre.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I tend to do things because it pleases me in some manner, or it needs to be done. I’m too preoccupied to notice what everyone else is doing.

Cruiser's avatar

Everybody needs a form of motivation and yours happens to be your friends. To me that is a great source as these are your friends and they more than likely are your friends because you share likes and interests. You say you want to do certain things and to subsequently find the motivation from friends no matter if they are doing the same thing which again should be no surprise. If you can’t get past this issue with your friends, just PM me and I will KYA into gear, no charge!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

See @PandoraBoxx ‘s answer—I copied off her paper—wink wink !Lol! :)

mollypop51797's avatar

I think that it’s normal to do this, and in a way it sets your standards, and makes you work harder to be at a certain “level” But, it also shows a competitive side to you too. And I think that’s ok, but don’t get full of it, and don’t be that person who always needs to be better than someone else, and needs to brag about their higher accomplishments over others’. But, one great thing about this question (great question point!) is that you realize this happening. It’s great that you’re aware of this. It’s completely normal, but every now and then you might need to take it down a notch so you don’t become “that person” :)

CMaz's avatar

“Is that wrong?” Not at all.

Always good to size up who you want to kiss your ass.

neverawake's avatar

Yup. why would you want to compare yourself to your unworthy peers anyway?

evandad's avatar

You’re being to tough on yourself.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It’s not the most effective way to motivate yourself. Sometimes, regardless of how we feel, we must acknowledge the resistance and the fear and keep going and never mind the other guy. You and your friend may have different goals, despite how it appears on the outside. How could you compare anyway?

I’ve done this too. It’s not fair to you at all to compare yourself to others. Someone may have practiced more, or have more natural talent at something or whatever. Just try to enjoy activities for what they give you and not about how it you’re doing compared to someone else.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The latest issue of Bitch magazine has this great article about social networking sites being a way we constantly compare ourselves to others – that the point of them is to be involved in passive surveillance and policing changes. Very interesting.

I am glad that you realize this – you’re not a shitty person but you do, I think, need to do these goods things for yourself only.

ChaosCross's avatar

This is normal, and well, honestly it is kind of wrong, or pathetic at least; not saying you are.

Gaining confidence by looking at something, be it a person or otherwise, and directly comparing certain areas of the two lives finding the good points simply sounds a bit… lame.

But alas, it is human behavior, and we are all humans.

thriftymaid's avatar

It’s not wrong, but it’s immature. Kids do this because they feel like they need to belong. As you grow older, hopefully, you will decide to let others look to you instead by being all you can be. (No, I’m not a military recruiter.)

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