Do You Remember ‘Compare People’?
Do you guys remember ‘Compare People?’ If you weren’t on Facebook in the 2007-2008 period, then you likely have no idea what I’m talking about.
Compare People was an app within Facebook that would be used to…surprise! Compare People. If my memory serves me correctly, you would click the link on the app, the app would pull up over your Facebook page and then show two pictures, each one a Facebook friend of yours. A question would be at the top and ask something along the lines of “Who has the prettiest hair?” or “Who has the best smile?” You would then choose your answer from your two options and then move on to the next question, presented with two new Facebook friends.
As the app grew more popular and more and more people participated in the voting shenanigans, you would get a list of what you have been ranked most highly on. “You are ranked #4 for best eyes!” “You are ranked #10 for funniest!” The app provided a shallow look into what your Facebook peers thought about you, which probably explains why it was so popular.
Compare People faded away as most things do. At the turn of the 2010s decade and as the rise of other social media platforms like Instagram grew more prominent, we have now developed new, sophisticated ways of comparing each other. Not only that, but the like button on Facebook was activated in early 2009, so now we can publicly express our enthusiasm for something or someone.
It’s hard to believe there was a time on Facebook before the like button. I also remember the days where you had to have “is” after your name when you posted a status. “Pat is having a great time writing this blog post!” Anyways, as I reminisce on Compare People it makes me think about social media in general and our often innate decision to compare ourselves with others.
I’ve discussed in past posts of mine how social media tends to exaggerate our lives as we only post the highlights of our lives. We are always looking for likes and sometimes we can be embarrassed if we only get a small handful of likes when we post something. “How come I don’t have double digit likes?! Ahhh!!!” The ironic thing about all of this is that we worry what people will think, but people simply do not care. We are too fixated on our own photos, posts, and likes to even blink an eye at the mention of someone else’s “stats.” Like Compare People, we have a tendency to be rather indifferent about others’ “successes” unless those “successes” help us in some way.
Now, that’s not to say we aren’t happy for each other. If your sister got a job or your friend got into graduate school, that’s great! I’m so happy for them! But a lot of us then have a habit of making their success about us. “They are doing so well. How come I’m not doing well like them?” Others’ successes very rarely if ever have to do with our own failures. And yet, we continuously put ourselves down because we compare where we are at in our lives with where others are at.
It’s almost impossible to compare ourselves with another person. Why? Because we have lived completely different lives! Even if we come from similar upbringings, family dynamics are going to be completely different. Not only that, but so much of everything in this world is subjective. What one person may see as amazing and stupendous another may see it as awful. We are all inferior and superior to everyone else in some way or another. If you believe someone is more awesome than you are, there are likely traits of that person that are not so awesome.
We have a tendency to focus on our detriments rather than our strengths. We see someone achieving greatness and believe that it’s impossible for us. This is not true! We have to live true to who we are and fulfill our greatest potential without comparing ourselves to anyone else. If we do compare ourselves, we will always find someone who is better and we will therefore stay discouraged.
Albert Einstein has this great quote. He states, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Do you believe we are our own worst enemy to accomplishing what we want to accomplish? Do you feel comparison gets in the way of progress? Comment below!