Monday, March 14, 2011

Comparison Mind Again

I have been collecting an interesting assortment of blogs/websites of folks writing about stepping outside of the norm somehow. Many of them are alternative career related - but others, like The Art of Non-Conformity, have a much broader theme.

Given what I wrote about comparison mind in my post yesterday, it was interesting to find the same topic appear before my eyes again today. Chris from Art of Non-Conformity writes:

When we falsely compare ourselves to others, we needlessly belittle our accomplishments. We also give weight to the wrong idea that venturing out of our comfort zone is “no big deal” or that small successes are “overrated.”

But actually, doing what other people expect you to is what’s overrated. The external rewards for pursuing a dream may or may not arrive, but regardless, you should feel proud of doing so. The first steps are more important than the later ones, because they’ll provide inspiration and security for everything that comes later. Just keep walking!

Never despise small beginnings, and don’t belittle your own accomplishments. Remember them and use them as inspiration as you go on to the next thing.

The anticipation of external rewards or punishments is, I think, exactly why we get trapped in comparison mind. And I've also noticed how easy it is to dismiss the tiny beginnings that emerge from your efforts to do something different, take a different direction, or see the world in a different way.

It's like being a gardener that only pays attention to the growth that has moved far above ground, and deems slow rising little shoots as signs of future crop failure. I remember one year thinking in the middle of May that the previous year's mint must have died out because it hadn't returned yet. So, I went out and got some more, only to watch the old stuff reappear a few weeks later, twice as big as the last year.

Impatience, false expectations, and a failure to pay close attention are all part of comparison mind. Now I know the mint comes back a little later than some of the other perennials, and that it's basically a weed - really hard to kill off, even after the worst winter.

I'm trying to apply all this to the rest of my life. To accept that the walking being done may not be pumping out clearly visible results, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening.

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