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  • Writer's pictureErika Bugbee, M.A.

The Spiritual Payoff of Staying Focused on Your Own Lane ("Comparison is the Thief of Joy" Part 2)

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

In an earlier video, I talked about the habit of comparing ourselves to others and what a distraction and happiness-killer that can be.

I got so much feedback I decided to create a Part 2.

In the first video I talked about the enormously disruptive and emotionally taxing effects of comparison on parents trying to find their way, especially if their kids are struggling.

Today’s video is about the effects of comparison on regular people simply trying to live their lives.

The habit of comparison can be a sneaky and and potentially debilitating force that loves to flare up at the worst possible times.

Comparison itself is a neutral process which is actually a very helpful and proactive way all animals learn, make adjustments, and gather new ideas.

But like any form of thought, comparison as a habit is something we mistakenly use against ourselves by doing it at all the wrong times.

I see people habitually fall into a comparison mode in a few very predictable situations, for example:

1. When they’re around friends or on social media and they start feeling intimidated or insecure,

2. When life (or money, relationships, their business) is not going well, they get down or frustrated, and start questioning everything, themselves included, and

3. When they’re generally unsettled, restless or in a funk for no good reason, as we all get at times.

So basically for certain people, the habit of comparison is something that happens constantly. It becomes part of their regular mental lifestyle.

Yet it’s sneaky, running quietly in the background.

The effects range from being distracting at best, to being derailing or immobilizing at its worst.

In those moments, from that state, the power of thought makes it look and feel like they need things that other people have.

It's an illusion. A trick of the mind. But it can be compelling.

I need better stuff. I need more and better accomplishments.

I need to be in better shape. I need to be younger. I need a better chin.

I need more confidence. I need to be less insecure and approval-seeking.

I need a romantic connection that’s so deep and amazing that people stop and notice.

If comparison is a habit in your playbook, it will show up as a feeling of lacking or deficit in any direction you cast your eyes.

It doesn’t matter how much you have going for you.

Some of my wealthiest clients regularly hang out in feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment in themselves and life, simply because they compare themselves to people with bigger yachts.

As silly as that might sound, it’s exactly what people do in other areas of life.

In this video I use a metaphor of a ridiculous event we have every year in Washington State called the Corgi Races.

If you’re not a dog person, Corgis are dogs with super short little legs.

These dogs compete in short casual sprinting races at a horse track.

Last year, flipping through tv channels, we watched a race. A few Corgis were focused and in the zone, and blew the others away.

Meanwhile, a Corgi named Gravy was zigzagging around to different lanes, chasing other dogs, grabbing dogs’ vests, and finished last.

When we focus on our own lane, we do great.

Our energy, like the Corgis that did well, is concentrated in one unified direction, and we build a momentum. Focus is the most efficient, profound, and innate mindset we possess.

And as it turns out, focus is also the mindset that brings joy, creativity, and grace.

As soon as we start looking outside our own lane, our thoughts and energy get splintered and our momentum stops. Just like Gravy’s.

That’s what today’s video is about.

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