This is a guest post by Alex Fayle of Someday Syndrome.
Envy and jealously thrive in the blogosphere despite the usually glowing messages of support that fly back and forth.
Every time someone announces achieving a new level of social media success, outwardly many people say “Yay!” and inwardly say “Why isn’t that me!?!”
That’s quickly followed by: “My posts are more in depth/funnier/better written/offer more practical solutions/whatever” and a really good pout.
Why Comparisons are Easy
It’s hard-wired into us. Human beings make sense of the world by comparing things: am I bigger/stronger/faster than this creature which (depending on my answer) will either be my dinner or I’ll be its.
Comparisons exist everywhere. Everything is more or less than something else. It’s an integral part of our language. In business, we establish benchmarks then measure our progress using comparisons. We do competitive research by comparing our company to other companies. In sports, everyone is ranked (compared) being either higher or lower than others. Kids at school are ranked smarter or more stupid in different courses.
Why Comparisons are Bad
So, if they’re everywhere, then why are comparisons so bad and why would we want to stop making them?
In many situations comparisons are good (like a runner dropping in her minutes/per mile ratio â€“ you want to compare such things to know that you’re making progress). Problems arise when we start comparing ourselves to others because we stop comparing apples to apples (our past selves with our present or future selves) and start comparing apples to oranges (ourselves to others). And here’s why it’s apples to oranges.
Everyone has a different market. Let’s say you’re in the personal development blog market. It would therefore be super easy to compare your blog to other personal development blogs. After all, they’re alike, no?
No. You might focus on personal stories while someone else researches the web and pulls together impersonal essays. Neither is better than the other and each has its own audience.
Let’s look at two magazines: People and The New Yorker. They both exist to inform and entertain. They offer stories about ordinary people, celebrities, news, and the arts. The New Yorker has a circulation of 1 million, People 3.75 million. People isn’t the better magazine, neither is The New Yorker. They serve different markets.
Even more closely-related magazines like People and Hello can’t be compared because although on the surface they are direct competitors, in reality they each do things differently and attract different markets (which do overlap in some places). People doesn’t care if you also buy Hello â€“ they just want to interest you enough in buy People, and the rest doesn’t matter.
Reasons for Blogging
This leads to the next reason comparisons are bad: your blogging motivations. Some people blog to build a community and rely on building comments. Others focus on earning money, so sell advertising. Still others want to help people, or to provide a sort of lecture series, orâ€¦ orâ€¦ orâ€¦
There are millions of blogs out there and millions of bloggers each with distinct reasons for blogging.
And even if you do find someone who is doing the same thing you are, reaching the same market as you for the same reasons, comparisons can still harm you becauseâ€¦
Methods of Blogging
â€¦ how you blog will be different. Do you post 400 word articles every day? 1500 word essays once a week? Or 150 word updates three times day?
Then there’s voice, style, layout, design and thousands of other small ways that every blog is different.
Why Comparisons can be Good
Like a company that sets benchmarks (minimum standards), you can decide what constitutes success for you then compare your actions versus the results. Change up your blog layout and see how that affects your metrics (comments, subscribers, hits, etcâ€¦).
Of course, read other blogs and learn from them. Take things they do and try them out on your blog, then compare the results to your blog pre-change, not to the blog you got the idea from.
This way, you’re not reading blogs and hearing about successes full of envy and spite. You’re actually happy for their successes because that means you have someone else you can learn from to build your own success.
And then you can congratulate them without any hidden negativity spoiling the good news.
Alex Fayle, a Writer and Professional Organizer, cures people of the dreaded Someday Syndrome after discovering how to overcome his own 25-year obstacle. Want to stop putting off your “someday” dreams? Visit Alex’s site and learn how to cure your Someday Syndrome for a better life.