Let us take a look at the scientific method, starting with the question, are you better than the person next to you? Take some background research about what they are good at. Look at your hypothesis, if they did better than me at this, then they are better than me overall. Now, through your experiment, you will go through life and the failures you have and compare them to the accomplishments they have. After analyzing, you result in feeling like you have lost some self-worth.
Why do we compare ourselves? Social psychologists came up with the Social Comparison Theory, which states that "in the absence of objective measures for self-evaluation, we compare ourselves to others to find out how well we are doing." Psychologist, Dr. Williams, says "we come to know ourselves by comparing ourselves to other people, and we compare ourselves to others to learn about our feelings, traits, and abilities." It's not terrible to compare yourself because that way, we can motivate or even feel better about ourselves, but sometimes, comparing ourselves can cause us to lose self-worth. It is astonishing how one number can affect your mood.
But NUMBERS are incapable of measuring all of the EFFORT, TALENT, and CAPABILITIES we possess. Anyone can be talented, anyone can be smart, but why let a simple number define how talented or smart you are? How good you are at something is not solely based on talent. Everyone has talent, but talent is nothing without hard work and dedication, skill develops from the time we spend on perfecting that talent. And after all, a number can't measure your willpower or determination. Ms. Halvorson, the author of "Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals" states that "we should think about why we were seeking the information. Upward comparison can be punishing and make you feel terrible… but you can also look upward to learn." Don't just feel inferior about performing badly, or even looking bad, especially when you are giving your best. What more can you offer to yourself other than your best?
We are constantly looking at the person next to us rather than focusing on ourselves. We see ourselves every day, the same image and we know what we are capable of doing, so it's easy to avert our attention to others and their strengths and compare their strengths to our weaknesses. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, the author of the study and associate professor of economics at Dartmouth College says that people "influence what you think is a normal lifestyle." You have these standards and this ideal image that everyone strives to be, but while in the midst of trying to achieve that goal or standard for yourself, you start feeling like you have lost self-worth.
You start to lose yourself.
All of us want to be the best, but the most important thing is to be the best of your OWN capabilities. You will be successful either way. What matters the most is to make the difference for yourself and to do what makes you happy. You do not need to be better than everyone else, but be better for your own satisfaction. It is hard for all of us to just accept how we are now and how much effort is put into everything already when there are so many people in the world that are "higher" than us, comparing your life to someone else's is always a losing proposition because there will always be someone who will appear to be doing a better job or living a better life, you can not always be at the top.
Every person in this world is stuck in this box. We are constantly surrounded by the walls that close in on us daily. On one side is the expectations people set for us that we are expected to hold, the next side is the kind of criticism that we face. Coming down from the top is the failure that could come crashing down at any moment, and the bottom is the bottomless pit we are all stuck in. We are in this box because we are constantly beating ourselves up inside and out, wondering WHY can't we be as smart as them, WHY can't we be as good looking or as nice or cool as the next person?
But we always fail to ask this one question: WHY can't we just seem to accept ourselves the way we are now?
If we know that we, ourselves can do better, then do better! All it takes is hard work, and if hard work doesn't take you to where you want, then push a little harder and satisfy yourself and no one else around you. Talent is what we possess but skill is gained every second, hour to a day worth of time to carve. No one has fallen down yet, and those who have, have failed to realize that they are only one step closer to success. On the road to success, you will always pass by failure.
We are all tiny plants stuck in this giant forest with trees towering above us, unable to reach the sunlight we need as the shadows cast upon us, wondering when we'll ever be as tall as the other trees. All of us. How will we ever grow to be that tall? We are all like different seeds, some of us are capable of growing that tall and some of us have a limit to how much we can grow, but still be as beautiful and magnificent as the other. In order to grow and develop into the plant that we are, we must be planted, watered, and given enough sunlight or fertilizer. You can't only have water without all the other elements, because that way, you can't grow.
Just like water, numbers itself cannot define you and it does not make you grow with itself. You need sunlight and clippings, and fertilizer and much more than just water to help you grow, to help to get where you want to be. Like plants, too much water and too little of everything else will kill you. It will kill your happiness, and fog up the whole picture of ourselves that include all the other qualities of ourselves and cause us to think we are failures just because of one, single quality. You don't need to be like those trees, you just need to be like you, the plant you are with your own qualities. Grow from your soil, and admire others and look up to them, but you will never be them like they will never be you.
Now let us plug in another question into the scientific method. Does one quality define who you are? Our research or background information is what you are good at. Look at your hypothesis, If I am good at all of these things and I start to realize it, then I do not need to worry about trying to be better than someone else. The experiment is working hard at what you do best and trying to be the best you can. Analyze by looking at all your achievements, and future goals and current accomplishments. Conclude that you are a unique individual who is different from anyone else, and you do not need to achieve what they have in order to realize that you are good at what you do, and who you are as a person.
Grades, ranking, and looks may all be important, but when you look in the mirror, you don't see a mere number, you see yourself. In that reflection, you may not be able to see all the other qualities you have, but remember, you see the person who has weaknesses, but also strengths. The person who does not only have an image on the outside to define who they are but the person who has more on the inside to complete who they are.