#549 Social Comparison Is Toxic

<- Science Says

In our last +1, we talked about the fact the John Wooden and Vince Lombardi paid very little attention to what their competitors were doing. They focused on what THEY wanted to do and then relentlessly chased perfection as they tried to do it as well as they could.

I made a casual reference to the fact that science says that social comparison is toxic. Let’s take a deeper look.

Let’s cruise into our library of Notes on the science of well-being. Pull The How of Happiness off the shelf. And review Sonja Lyubomirsky’s genius, empirically backed (!) wisdom:

She tells us: “We found that the happiest people take pleasure in other people’s successes and show concern in the face of others’ failures. A completely different portrait, however, has emerged of a typical unhappy person—namely, as someone who is deflated rather than delighted about his peers’ accomplishments and triumphs and who is relieved rather than sympathetic in the face of his peers’ failures and undoings.”


Plus, Sonja tells us: “You can’t be envious and happy at the same time. People who pay too much attention to social comparisons find themselves chronically vulnerable, threatened, and insecure.”

And, finally: “The happier the person, the less attention she pays to how others around her are doing.”


That’s Today’s +1.

Let’s remember to be like Wooden and Lombardi and just execute our game plans as well we can.

And, let’s remember that science says: “The happier the person, the less attention she pays to how others around her are doing.”

Unlock the full Optimize Experience

Get instant access to a ton of wisdom. Optimize every facet of your life. Actualize your potential.

Start free trial