The Danger of Basing Expectations on Comparisons

Expectations, Comparisons and Self-Image




You have expectations of yourself and of others. It’s natural. The question is, “How do you develop those expectations?” Are they realistic, setting you up for disappointment and, possibly, a self-esteem hit? Hopefully, you developed your expectations with thoughtful consideration.

The Danger in Comparing Your Insides to Someone’s Outsides

If you’re feeling insecure and fearful, you might compare how you feel to someone who is successful in the area you wish to succeed. You may think that person feels confident and self-assured. They may even act that way. You don’t know how they are feeling. You may actually feel more self-confident than they feel.

Develop your own sense of who you are and your confidence. How other people appear may have nothing to do with how they feel.

The Danger in Comparing Your Progress to Another’s Progress

You don’t know what skills another person began with. They may  have had knowledge you don’t have. They may have support you don’t have.

Do use their success as encouragement, a sign that if they accomplished this, you an accomplish something similar.

Compare Your Knowledge and Skills to an Expert’s

knowledgeWhen you have a desire to reach a particular goal, compare your skills and knowledge with someone who has accomplished the same or similar goal.

Where are your strengths? Where are your weaknesses? Fill in the gaps of your knowledge base and skill level. Don’t be discouraged by your comparison. Use it as motivation to discover what you need.

And… if you need a skill you don’t have, find someone who has that skill to fill the gap.

Model Your Values after Someone You Admire

Comparing yourself to someone you admire can give you encouragement to be the best you can be. It can also reveal areas you excel and areas you need to work on.

Use this type of comparison as an incentive to strive to be more, not as chastisement for what you are not.

Setting Reasonable Expectations

expectationsWhen setting expectations take into account your past performance, your skill level, amount of confidence and your support.

Your Past Performance

Your past performance is not determinative but it is indicative. If you honestly evaluate what were your strengths and weaknesses in the past, you will have a good indication of how quickly you can progress in the future. By shoring up your weaknesses, you can raise your expectations.

If you neglect to strengthen your weaknesses and keep your expectations high, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment and a self-confidence hit.

Your Skill Level

If you need to gain new skills before accomplishing a goal, keep your expectation of success, and adjust your time expectations.

Be aware of setting expectations of accomplishment when you don’t have the necessary skills or equipment to accomplish a task.

Your Support and Self-Confidence

I’ve put these two together. Having self-confidence is huge in regards to achieving your goals. If, however, you have a strong support team and follow their suggestions, you can accomplish your goal without having a great deal of self-confidence. Having confidence in your team can make up for your lack of self-confidence.

Readjust Expectations as Needed

When you become aware you’ve set your expectations too high, adjust them. Needing to readjust is not a failure; it’s being realistic. 

Keep your eye on your goal, make adjustments as necessary and continue your progress.


2 thoughts on “The Danger of Basing Expectations on Comparisons”

  1. Great advice! I make that mistake sometimes, too, when I compare my inside to someone else’s outside. So this post is a good reminder.

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