Comparison. Portrait of beautiful woman

Practice Gratitude 

Instead of comparing yourself with others, try comparing yourself with where you were a year ago. Focus on how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go, and you’ll realize how successful you already are.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. We’ve all compared ourselves with others. We look around and see the success of other authors, or we read a great book and feel as if we’d never be able to write that well. Thanks to social media and global connectivity, the success of others is more visible than ever before. 

We are ultimately designed to understand ourselves, to reflect on who we are and where we fit into the world. Social psychologist Leon Festinger first explored this drive in 1954 and identified two main reasons why we compare ourselves with others: first, to reduce anxiety, and second, to learn how to define ourselves. He recognized that we can only define ourselves in relation to others. 

Social comparison has its benefits as it helps us to keep our behavior in check, e.g., remembering our manners and knowing it’s wrong to kill someone. It’s in our DNA and traces back to a time when being part of a tribe and fitting in was the key to survival. 

Usually, we have a bias toward comparing ourselves with people who are ahead of us, and because our brains are hardwired to have a negative bias, we focus on areas that we feel insecure about. 

Social comparison can be a powerful motivator but can also undermine your self-esteem. If you’re always looking at people further up the ladder and focusing on closing the gap between you and the next person, you risk becoming dissatisfied and never feeling quite good enough. 

As we progress with our goals, the goalposts also tend to move. Therefore, we can easily forget how far we’ve already come. By learning to focus on what we’ve already achieved rather than on what others have, we can shift our mindset toward gratitude and find our own version of success.

Picture of Angela Archer

Angela Archer

Having worked as a mental health nurse for many years, Angela combines her love of words with her love of human psychology to work as a copywriter in the UK. She independently published a novella and novel in 2020 and is currently fending off the lure of shiny new novel ideas to complete the second book in her sci-fi series. When she’s not tinkering with words, she’s usually drinking tea, playing the saxophone (badly), or being mum and wife to her husband and two boys.

Start or Join a Conversation About This Article:

When Writing Means Business, Storytellers Read Indie Author Magazine

Read Indie Annie's Latest Advice:

Dear Indie Annie,

In the past, I’ve hired editors, cover designers, and even a virtual assistant. Passing off those responsibilities makes sense, but internal formatting always seems so straightforward. At what point is it worth investing in professional formatting services? Frugal Formatter Dear Frugal, Oh my, that moniker sounds like you’re an inhabitant of Middle Earth, but I digress. Formatting your own manuscript seems as simple as building a bookcase from IKEA: just insert tab A into slot

Read More »

Dear Indie Annie,

Despite my best marketing efforts, my backlist just isn’t selling. How do I decide whether to go back to the drawing board and refocus the series or cut my losses and unpublish it?  At a Crossroads Dear Crossroads,  I feel your frustration, love. When a backlist underperforms, it’s like owning a vintage auto that sputters more than it purrs. Do you tune it up or trade it in for a new model? Let’s hash out

Read More »

Dear Indie Annie,

I’ve only ever written in one particular genre. I have an audience built there, a decent backlist, and a few ideas for future books. But I just recently got an idea for a story in an entirely different genre—one that I don’t even know I’ll continue past this book. Do I write the new idea or stick with what I know?  Pestered by a Plot Bunny Dearest Plot Bunny, The temptation of an off-brand manuscript

Read More »

Follow Us

Weekly Tutorial

Sign up for our Newsletter

We’ll send you our best articles, special offers, and industry updates

Would You Like a Free Issue?

Hello! I’m Indie Annie, and I would love to send you a copy of this month’s issue of Indie Author Magazine. Just join our email list and I’ll drop it in your inbox!