Have you ever been scrolling down Instagram and been hit with a barrage of happy couples, outfit grids, tanned legs in front of palm trees, or engagement rings?
If you’re like me, you’ve thought to yourself “Wow, they have it all together! I wish I were more ….” You fill in the blank, in shape, more handsome, wealthier, more successful. You name it. We are consistently barraged with the comparison game in our social media, social circles, or social lives.
This game, however, doesn’t lend itself to your success. In Tim Marks’s breakthrough book, Confidence of a Champion, section two is dedicated to stopping people from negative comparing. He chronicles our tendency to focus on our weak points in an unfair comparison with other’s fantastic successes.
This post is the follow up to the YouTube video, check out the video if you haven’t yet!
Our minds and bodies are wired for accomplishment and when we feel like we don’t measure up to others that we see around us we feel inferior. However, this becomes a never-ending quest for trophies and trinkets.
This could be why John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and one of the richest men in historym when asked, “How much money is enough?” responded with the ground shaking statement:
Just one more dollar
Think about that, the most financially successful individual in recent history didn’t feel as if he could be satisfied even when “beating” everyone else in the rat race.
Reality Check. You and I have a very small chance of beating John D. Rockefeller in the possessions game.
While I certainly believe that you and I have unlimited potential and we live in a time of unparalleled opportunity for success, the fact remains that even if we “succeed” in the world’s eyes the victory will be hollow if all your satisfaction is tied to your accomplishments or accolades. As a Christian, I believe most people have a God-shaped hole in their lives that they try to fill with money or success but are ultimately unsuccessful in that endeavor.
So stop comparing your weaknesses to other’s strengths.
Instead rest assured that our country is founded on the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal.” You have worth regardless of your accomplishments because you are created in the image of the Creator.
In the video this week, there are several topics and each of them give value to individuals seeking to live confidently in their current situations and avoiding unhealthy comparison.
Our tendency to compare usually has something to do with the association we have, the stories we tell ourselves, and our understanding of the world we live in.
First of these three topics, association.
Association: The connection between people, ideas or things
Confidence of a Champion was written by Tim Marks and he was highly influenced by association through audio with Zig Ziglar. If you aren’t familiar with Zig, he was the foremost motivational speaker and teacher of the late 20th century and a highly respected authority on the topic of motivation and hope.
I have recently listened to Zig Ziglar’s audio series and then reading this book I was struck by the similarities in thought process and example types. The reason I share this observation is because of the association that both Tim and I share with Zig and it has influenced both of our views of the world. For you reading this, you may want to identify a leader in your chosen field and find ways to associate with them through audio or in person.
The power of association is apparent in the way you and I choose to view ourselves. By spending time with inspiring and healthy individuals we become more like those we are with. This has direct impact on our comparison tendency because we are reminded by inspiring stories that we can achieve our goals.
The second of these topics, Self Talk, deals directly with the inner dialogue we keep with ourselves. This topic is handled in section three of the book and one major point in that section is the idea of framing one’s circumstances in a positive light.
When I started my most recent job, I was faced with multiple areas of responsibility that needed to be addressed. These things seemed to pile up and pile up and eventually I sat down and filled a notebook page with bullet points of things that weren’t right and I needed to address. However, I stopped in that moment and took another sheet of paper and for each of those “wrong things” I wrote down a corresponding point of what was right in that area and how it could be improved on. This exercise helped me push off frustration in the moment because I could focus on the things that were going well.
The third of these topics, understanding our world, is handled in section six of the book. This section is entitled “Fight fear with faith.” Without faith, you and I tend to be down on ourselves or are ruled by fear. This is why we see such fear-mongering and the scared reaction many have to current events.
However, we are not called to a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). And while we may tend towards comparing our current situation with others and become fearful, we need to remember that the end of the story is already written for those of us with faith. Tim Marks writes from a Christian perspective and encourages those with a different faith background to understand what their faith tells them about their world.
Two days ago, I had an opportunity to attend a luncheon with a favorite speaker and author of mine, John Stonestreet. One of his points was that as Christians we understand that moment in which we find ourselves, in light of the overarching story of the Bible’s four areas: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. This gives us hope for the moment we are in (even when things seem crazy) because we understand our world in the context of the full story.
The next time you find yourself wondering why you aren’t as successful as Bill Gates, or as beautiful as Beyoncè, or as funny as Kevin Hart, remember that we are created with that self evident value and without an eternal perspective, even if you did accomplish those goals you would still desire more. Instead try associating with someone you respect, framing your situation in a positive light and getting some eternal perspective on the moment you find yourself in.
That’s my current take on confidence, I hope it helps.
See you next week for a discussion on the Slight Edge!
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