Thursday, August 25, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Who are you to wave your finger?

Life is full of opportunities to put other people down. We meet people every day that do things differently than what we would have done. People wear funny clothes and make bad decisions. You are probably surrounded by people who drive like idiots and listen to terrible music. There's room for improvement all around us.

It is very easy to get into a mind set where we judge other people for their actions or preferences. It can make us feel better about ourselves when we can laugh at someone else's stupid mistakes or their misguided beliefs. We don't even have to say anything, all that is needed is a silent internal snicker when we are faced with human imperfection.

These kinds of reactions are natural and widespread, but you should work to eliminate them from your own thinking.

When we make an assessment of another person we are always working from imperfect data. At best we can guess at their mind set and condition and why they chose to do or not do certain things, but you will never have perfect data to make a judgment. This alone is reason enough to cut your fellow man considerable slack, but it's not the reason why I think you should refrain from this kind of thinking. The real reason to eliminate putting others down is that it doesn't do anything to elevate yourself.

By making others look smaller in our own eyes we might feel that we are growing bigger, but it is a deception of scale. You are not growing by comparing yourself to other peoples failures. It is much more productive to focus on your own personal growth than to diminish others for their shortcomings.

You should never compare yourself to other people anyway. You are yourself and your situation is unique. Don't measure yourself against anybody else. Focus your attention on how you are improving yourself and celebrate your own progress. How other people act or perform is hugely irrelevant in this context. Comparing yourself to others can only serve to take you of course. It might not seem like a big deal to enjoy some juicy gossip about your neighbor, but when you do you automatically pass judgment and so measure someone else's life against your own.

Like I've already said, putting others down might make it seem like you are getting better but it is not true. It is a false perspective and will skew your view of your own progress. Most people don't realize the hidden implications of this kind of thinking.

When you compare yourself to other people, you might feel good about yourself because you have achieved more than someone you know who has failed. But the converse will also be true. There will always be people who have achieved more impressive things than you. If you get into the habit of measuring yourself against other people this will be a serious obstacle to improving yourself. In fact, it is this kind of thinking that keeps most people from acknowledging their own successes the way they should.

This thinking is typically manifested in thoughts like "I've lost 5 pounds, but I am still much fatter than the girl across the street" or "I've written this book, it's pretty good, but I am no professional author". Thinking this way is toxic and keeps people from achieving their true potential. If everyone thought like this no one would ever have reason to do anything. You will always have room to grow and there will always be people that have achieved more than you. Don't spend another second thinking about it.

In your life the only thing that matters is how you grow yourself and spend your time. The successes and failures of other people play no part in your own development. Spend your energy on yourself and be sure to celebrate your life and achievements every chance you get.

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