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Why you need to stop comparing yourself with others


Source: Visualize Value on Twitter


My second TEDx talk covered the topic of Imposter Syndrome - a phenomenon where you feel like a fraud or undeserving of merit, no matter how much you achieve.


In that talk, there’s an excerpt near the middle where I did a small experiment with individuals ranging from highly commendable CEOs all the way to young people at school, and getting their take on how imposter syndrome affects them.


This is the experiment:


So, I decided to do a small experiment. I rounded up 6 people I knew. 3 people all in the age group of 10-18. The other 3 people included a CEO, Founder, and entrepreneur that I knew from my LinkedIn networks over the years. Next, I scheduled a Zoom call with each of them separately and asked if I could get their authentic reactions to a statement that I wanted to tell them.

I said to each of them 4words.

“You are a fraud”.

What followed me saying this confronting statement may surprise you.

When I said these words to the three young people, I received a grimace, a “What do you mean, I haven’t done anything” and a “No I’m not!”.

Conversely, when I said the statement to the industry leaders, who were obviously much older and experienced into their lives, I received a “Yeah, I do feel that sometimes”, a “People might think that, yeah” and a “I wouldn’t say that…but I sure do feel that way occasionally”.

Surprised? Basically, I stated to a trio of young people and a trio of highly recognised industry leaders that they were frauds - a very negative term about not being good enough and deceptive. And that is how they reacted. When I asked the industry leaders further as to why that was their reaction, the communal conversation that I had falls back onto one concept.

The Imposter Syndrome.

According to the Harvard Business Review, Imposter syndrome is defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud, no matter how much you achieve.

In my experiment, the younger people, who probably haven’t experienced the challenges such as holding down a career, personal ambitions, and the trials of adulthood, decided to completely go on the defensive. Their reaction was a testament of reaffirming one’s values, being in the moment, and the innocence that comes with justifying yourself. They were insulted by what I said.

On the other hand, despite all the accolades that the industry leaders had, their imposter syndrome made my statement navigate all the way through their overarching and prolific lives, and focus solely on those negative feelings of not being enough, of feeling like a fraud.


The excerpt above displays what a lot of self-development gurus fundamentally tailor all their lessons and advice around. The key concept that is immensely hard to assert, but life-changing once managed.


🍎 Stop comparing yourself to other people.


🍎 Stop worrying about what others think.


🍏 In reality, everybody is obsessed with their own lives, their own pre-conceived ‘flaws’, and their own progression in life. Even the most notable individuals in this societal ladder have opened up about their difficult battles with the imposter syndrome, and not being good enough.


If everyone goes through the same issue, why are we still comparing?


Comparison IS the thief of joy. It takes away the blessings and gratitude that you can accustom your own life with. It takes away the celebration of your worth and how far you have come.


Contextually, we are different and have been through different struggles in life. The similarity between all of us, however, is that we are ALL trying to figure it out as we go. Trying to make sense of “being put together”.