Why do I compare myself? The risks of comparison are a big issue in modern life. In this podcast find out why comparing yourself to others is such a big problem?
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Well, hi there! Jonathan Doyle with you for the weekly podcast. Welcome back! Welcome back! Welcome back! Been enjoying this lately. Just seriously, I know I’m saying it each week lately, but, I got to tell you the truth about doing a podcast, right? You start a podcast and you do like week 1 and you put the podcast out there and you get this awesome feedback usually from your mother. Usually, your mother’s going, “Hey! Great podcast!” And that’s pretty much how it goes for a long time and… perseverance is such a crucial human quality and I’d probably going to podcast on it or I should but, I’ve kind of stuck at it for ages. And it’s just been really cool to see this subscriber base grow now into the thousands and just to get more and more feedback from people and it’s really humbling. Like my wife, Karen, meets people and she’s like, “Ah! They said they listen to you every week.” And I’m like, “Really?!” Isn’t there like “Masterchef” or something else on for people to do? But, it’s been really awesome. So look, if you’re listening to this and you want to send me an email or you have a topic that you’d like me to address, then, please do it. You can hit me up on Facebook. Fastest way to find me on Facebook is just to type in www.fbjonathan.com and that’ll take you straight to the Facebook page. You can contact me there. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can also find me on Twitter @jonathandoyleco and Instagram, which I love. So, if you want to come across to Instagram, you can find me… I think @jonathan_doyle.co. So there, my friend, is a bunch of ways to get in touch. If you’ve got a topic or an issue… other exciting news, I’ve done a big 12 part video part series on all the topics in my book and each of the video has about 10 minutes long and what I’m probably going to do is start some coaching groups, maybe probably 10 people in a group, maybe a few less and I’ll start to take people through the principles in those videos and through the book and we’ll do that over Skype in a group. So, keep an eye out for that. If you’re interested in that and you’d like to sort of work with me one on one… I’ve got a lot of postgrad stuff that I’ve done in previous lives but as I probably mention at the moment, I’m doing some formal qualifications in coaching – in life coaching, in executive coaching. So, if you get to the point where you’d like to work with me one on one, then, we can organise that, too.
So, enough shameless brooking of stuff even though a lot of it is free. So, specially the videos, you’re going to love those. But, I did get a question this week from a listener from James and it was a really good question. It was about – how do you act confidently in social situations where you are like quite anxious and you become quite withdrawn when people start talking and you kind of retreat into yourself. Look, I’ve got quite a few thoughts on that and please feel free to post a comment underneath the podcast here because you might have a different take on it. But, here’s a few thoughts that I had initially was the first thing is that often we feel that we have to be like X – that we see a really bubbly kind of extroverted, outgoing person and we want to be just like them. And it’s really understandable. But the first thing I want to suggest is just around self-acceptance. A lot of us are shy and I do this weekly podcast and I go nuts and yell and carry on, I get really animated and if I’m doing a live event, I’m really animated. But in my personal life, I’m a real introvert. My dream day is in a silent, sun-filled room with a book. I’m really quite introverted and depending on a bunch effect is I can be quite relatively quiet at times. Until I get really comfortable with people and I really know people well, I can be quite reserved. And I’d have to travel this journey of self-acceptance.
So, the first thing to do is if you find yourself getting a bit anxious in social situations, just go easy on yourself because we don’t all have to be Mr. and Mrs. Gregarious all the time. So, that’s the first point – just self-acceptance… just don’t make yourself be something that you don’t have to be. I’m on a full boys. One of my older brothers, a fantastic guy, who’s just really brim at people. I watched him once. He kind of played golf at my golf course. And we were playing a group of 4 and I met the other 2 guys and it was like, “Good day! How are you going?” It was fine. And I watched him and I was like… it was fascinating just his ability to connect with people – was just a different skill set. It was just really cool to watch. He works in media or in high end sales. So, he’s doing this everyday. But he’s got a different personality. So, the first thing: self-acceptance.
The other thing I’d say is that the only reason that you’re really worried about this would be if it’s like a major… if it’s really having a major consequence so that social anxiety or shyness is becoming paralyzing because there’s definitely research on a kind of continuum. We all have shyness at some level on a spectrum of one to a hundred, we’re all somewhere. But it’s when there’s a consequence where it’s really holding you back from life and it’s really making life difficult for you. At that point, you may genuinely be worthwhile talking to a psychologist – just getting some cognitive help in sort of getting better at this area of life. And also, sometimes, you just got to stop like this is another strategy- just to begin… just to slowly put yourself in more social situations where you just get used to it.
I’ll give you a great that Karen, my wife, is a phenomenal public speaker. She’s such a brilliant speaker. Part of the reason is she’s the research queen. She just does so much work on any given… when she’s speaking at a conference event, she research for ages. She will do so much work. She’ll rehearse it and rehearse it. She’ll go for walks and when she gets out there on stage, she’s bringing her absolute A-game. But I can tell you before we had kids, we were newly married, Karen and I did this Toastmaster’s course – this is like a speech training course and I was the speaker. I was the kind of the comforting guy and this was so hard for her like it was… she was so nervous – the idea of standing up in front of strangers, doing random topics with no preparation and she was so nervous but it was amazing to watch her do the program and get better at it and slowly get more confident. And now, you’ll see her on stage – hundreds of thousands of people at a time – she’s just nailing it because she made the decision to put herself in the path of growth. So, sometimes you just got to begin. If you’re nervous in social situations – you’re nervous and you just got to keep going. It happens to me. I can think of a time recently – I had a big dinner event to attend and I was like, “Oh, man!…” Isn’t it crazy how we kind of tell ourselves that other people are just so amazing and they’re so serious and different and we musn’t make a fool of ourselves. I remember growing up, my mother used to joke that the Queen still goes to the bathroom, people. You know, she’s a human being. And often, we build up this social situations. I mean, like: “Oh my gosh! I musn’t say anything wrong…” We’re all human. We’re all people. So, just get a bit of courage and just start – begin to get out there and get some help if it’s in the more extreme end. Accept yourself. Accept how your personality’s made. Yes, we can change! But we’ve all got kind of default personalities.
Now, let’s get into this week’s actual content for the weekly podcast. It’s a really good one. This is powerful stuff and I hope it’s going to be really useful to you. I want to talk with you this week about the power and impact of comparison. What I’m going to suggest is that most of the time, most of us… that’s a big statement, I didn’t say many of us but most of us and most of the time are using comparisons to basically kick the hell out of ourselves. We compare ourselves so frequently to other people – that person’s taller, they’re better looking, they don’t weigh as much as I do, they have more money, they drive a better car, they live in this place, they’re just more intelligent, they got a better promotion – we just seem to look around us and modern tv and media and marketing has a huge role in this, too. We are constantly presented with images of beautiful, successful, perfect people who are living their dream all the time and just life looks awesome. And I was at this conference recently, there was this awesome speaker. He was talking about Instagram and I can’t remember the exact phrase but it was something like: “Show your best. Hide the rest.” It’s like on Instagram. I mean, no one’s posting photographs of themselves on Instagram yelling at their kids or getting out of bed with a hangover or with their clothes off and they don’t look great. Some people actually do that on Instagram but that’s not the point. But Instagram, “Show your best. Fake the rest.” Here’s my perfect life. Look at me. Look at these interesting things I’m doing. Look at this coffee I’m drinking because of course, we all want to see people’s cups of coffee. But, you get the point, right? Show your best. Fake the rest. We’re constantly presented with everybody else’s beautiful, perfect life and over time, many of us are like, “If only…” If only I was like them.
So, I want to talk about that for a minute. I want to talk about what we can do about it because I was speaking on the west coast just last week. It was last Monday and they started the day reading out my biography and it’s a long biography and I wrote it. I did creative writing at the university, so, it’s all true. Everything in there is true but you know, what? I have done a lot, I guess, I suppose. I’ve done a lot of study and written some books and done different things and it’s a pretty cool biography and they read it out. And the lady said – who’s introducing me, she said, “Ah!” She came to see me in the first break and then she said, “I felt so inadequate reading your biography.” And I was honestly stunned. I said, “Huh! Why?” And she said, “Look at everything you’ve done and you’re only this age and you’ve done all these.” I was looking at this woman who’s like… she was a really significant woman, working at executive level, who was doing great stuff and yet, she reads my bio. She doesn’t know me. We’ve only just met and she’s sort of comparing herself to me. And then, later in the day, we had some break out sessions and this really fascinating woman came to talk to me. And she said, “How much do you sleep?” And I’m like… that’s kind of weird… like, “Why?” Why she wanted to know that? She said, “I listened to your biography and you do so much and I just can’t do that.” Well, okay. There’s another person going that they heard my biography and thought… so, they’re comparing themselves. Turns out this lady has like… she is fostering this girl with really high needs and this was an older lady. She’s like in her 60’s and she was… did this amazing job – taking on a young child with major issues and learning difficulties and all sorts of problems. So, here’s a woman doing amazing stuff – just passionate, alive, committed woman who’s comparing herself to me. And I’m like, “Wow!” So, first thing, I was really struck by it. I wasn’t like there going, “Ah, yes. Well, look at my biography. You really all should bow and worship.” It’s like, seriously? I was fascinated to meet these people and I just got struck by how they were using comparison and I think, we’re all using comparison to rarely serve us. It’s just crazy. We just look around us and think, “If I was had that, I’ll be happy.”
I want to give you a cool quote. This is from a philosopher in the 14th century and it’s a pretty strong quote and I want to just unpack it a bit. But he said… this is a guy called John Duns Scotus, writing in the 14th century and I’ve memorised this years ago and I’ve shared it so many times but he said, “Every human comparison is essentially diabolical.” And I’m sure, I’ve shared that before on a podcast. So, when he says diabolical… I can’t really make it this less blunt than he meant. He means satanic. He goes: Any way that we compare ourselves, especially negatively to another person, is just plain evil. So, why would he say that? Well basically, he’s going: God makes you wherever you are in your spiritual journey. God creates you as this unique individual with all these story and capacity and all these stuff that you’ve experienced in life. You’re so unique and just meant to be the way you are. So, when we go around, we’re basically saying to God or the universe wherever you’re at with that, you’re basically saying to Him, “You could’ve done better! I should be like this. I don’t want to be this one. I want to be this way. I want to be this way.”
So, this path of self-acceptance, this path of… it doesn’t mean… I’m not saying that you just accept everything the way it is in your life and don’t want to change anything. That would be ludicrous. The whole weekly podcast… everything what I do… well, it’s not about you keeping up with the challenges, it’s not about you having what the other person has. It’s about you finding what you’re really are passionate about, how you can serve people. And here’s the key line. I’d been using this more and more lately. What I hope for you is that you will become the best version of yourself that you possibly can. Hear that – your task is to be the best version of yourself that you possibly can. Your job isn’t to be me. I meet people… I was speaking… I flew down to Melbourne on Saturday night and spoke at a conference Sunday morning and two people were coming to me and, “Oh, how did you get in to this? I really like to get into this. How do you do it?” That’s a good question! I’m like, “I do this… do this… do this.” But I’m worried that some people are like, “Ah, I just want to do exactly that.” And I go, “Your job isn’t to do exactly what I do. Your job is to do what’s on your heart to do.”
So, I really want to push you on this comparison. So, let me ask you some questions: Where are you comparing yourself to or who are you comparing yourself to? And usually, if you’re using comparison the wrong way, you’re going to feel miserable. I mean, how could you not? If you’re living in one house and you’re looking at everybody else’s house and go, “If only I live there.” Well, first thing you’re doing: you’re setting up a rule. You’re setting up a really big powerful rule in your life, which goes: “I can only have happiness when I have that.” And friends, this is taking me years to learn this – I can save you a bunch time, if you haven’t figured it out already, you don’t get to happiness. You don’t get to. You don’t go, “Oh! Yes, I finally got that BMW M3. Now, I have permission to be happy.” Friends, you know why I’m happy? Because I got up this morning, I had some time for like prayer and just reading in silence and I jumped on my bike. I rode with my brother in a big bunch ride. It was awesome and he and I ride together, had a coffee together and then I got time with my kids and I got to do some work. I got to coach somebody and I got to read. I wasn’t going to tell you this but I lie in the sun for a while and it was really cool. It’s just like we got this beautiful windows at the back of our house and they catch the winter sun and I just kind of lay there, try to get guilty but I couldn’t feel guilty because I felt really good. And I’m like… I was happy then, like… do you think if I had a Bentley I’d be happy? Well, I don’t know, maybe. But, I don’t know. I just think we got to stop waiting for a bunch of rules to get fulfilled to be happy and start to look around us of what is happening and what you are doing well and start to use that and to become the best version of yourself.
Now, the other thing I want to share is that… some of you might listen to this and go, “Well… so, when we see somebody who’s at the level that we want to be at, then, surely that comparison is going to serve us because it’ll motivate us to want to be like them. That’s different. Let me explain why that’s different because the whole field of…sort of neuro-linguistic programming or peak performance studies – all that sort of stuff, we focus on modeling, right? Modeling is we look at people who’ve achieved certain results in life and we ask ourselves: “How do they get those results?” And then, we look at what they did. And usually it’s what they did, how they use their bodies, how they thought, how they process things and you can model those behaviors if you want to try and get their results. But that’s different to looking at someone going this, “I’m magnificent. I’m a miserable worm.” They’re totally different things. I mean, one athlete can look at another and model their training routine or model aspects of their behavior, that’s different to sort of going, “I’m never like them. I’m never be that good.” So, modeling is cool. Comparison and negative sense is not.
So, you’re getting all that? We’ve got to stop using comparison to kick the hell out of ourselves. I am a 5 foot 8 white man with pretty much receding hair. What am I going to do with that? I mean, Dr. Phil’s made it work and other people but this is me. I’m not Tony Robbins, right? Tony Robbins is 6 foot 7 with thick, black, wavy hair. So, if I sit around all the time going, “Well, I’m not as good as speaker as Tony Robbins and therefore, I should never speak. I should never say anything. I should just go and disappear and not cause any trouble.” You know what, seriously? You know what? I’m still going to bring my A-game, right? I’m still going to bring… I still want to help people and talk about stuff and make a difference. So, my job’s to be the best version of me. My job isn’t to be Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, any of these guys. They’re awesome! I love what they do. But my job is to be the best version of myself and to bring my spin on things to you. And your job, this week, is to just keep becoming the best version of yourself possible and not to go crazy comparing yourself to someone else. End of sermon.
That’s it for the week. I gave you that big spiel at the start. Get in touch with me… gave you the stuff. Flip back to the start and listen to that if you need to get in touch with me. Post a comment underneath here but more importantly, grab the link at the top. Send it to a few friends and say, “Hey, listen to this. It’s really good.” If you haven’t got a copy of my book, “Bridging the Gap”, jump on the website at jonathandoyle.co and grab yourself a copy of the book and keep an eye out for the videos. Hope that’s been helpful. I’ve enjoyed doing it. You can hear it in my voice – pretty pumped now. So, really enjoyed it. Hope it’s useful. I’m Jonathan Doyle. This, my friend, has been the weekly podcast. I’m going to speak to you again next week.
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