Harnessing power of comparison to stay positive!

Life is full of emotions and emotions are like a wave, it has crests & troughs. Sometime, we are filled with lots of positive energy, this is crests of life wave. Other time, we experience troughs, lows in life. Brain generates these feelings (waves) based on the continuous comparisons it is performing. Good or bad are subjective, most of the time based upon societal and cultural acceptance. Our brain has inbuilt capability of doing comparisons. It takes these acceptances as parameters and do comparisons to bring out the objective results of good and bad. As a result, we tend to benchmark our performance based on the comparison with others around us. This is absolutely normal, everyone goes through this on daily basis without noticing.

Crests are fine but troughs need more attention to lead a balanced happy life. Troughs are time when we are filled with negative energy. These can have chaining effects, leading to irreversible damage in extreme conditions. Un-handled troughs can make one vulnerable to severe depression. And, depression has been cited as one of the main reasons of – why people commit suicide. This is extreme but in normal cases too, troughs eat up valuable and fixed time of our lives. Handling troughs effectively is of utmost importance.

One need to accept that trough phase is temporary, one need to be “Hopeful” through out this phase. Most of us do this automatically and fight through the trough. Intense troughs need special attention though. We know that “comparisons” are reason behind troughs and “hope” during these times, is the way out. Comparisons by brain are unavoidable in normal cases, but can be used for one’s advantage by keeping “hope” intact using a simple exercise.

Any comparisons will have at least two parties. Generally, one is person and other is her surrounding. This is done by brain automatically. Let us have an intentional comparison when feeling low, have two parties as – your past and your present. Actually, both the parties are ‘you’ in this comparison but from different times. Take a sheet, make two partitions – present and past. Under present section, write down all the achievements (as many as possible) that you had in past 5 years/months/days, including the smallest ones. Write down what you are able to do now that you were not able to do 5 years/months /days before. These achievements could be as small as learning to pronounce a word that you were not able to do earlier. Repeat the same for past section, write down that you were able to do before 5 years/months/days. I am sure, list under present section is longer than the one under past section.

Look closely, you have been under troughs before as well and you were successfully out of these. Tell yourself that you did it before and you will be able to do this again. But, this time, it could be really tough. There might be ‘not so good’ things that might have happened, like – lost money in business, lost a job, lost someone etc. Let’s look at few of these. One can lose money in businesses for n number of reasons, may be overall market is down. Some business decision went wrong etc. In former case, you just need little more patience and probably you are not alone. In later case, you learned what did not work for you. You can avoid this in future. There are many examples who started from zero in business at varied age and phases of life, you can also do the same. Losing a job, is ok too. Get relevant or enhance existing skills, if needed and start apply to new jobs. Do not put all eggs in single basket, have back ups. You can always start over in such situations. Losing someone is irreversible, one has to accept such things and move on. All of these are just incidents, each one of us have these in life. Most of these have easy ways out. We just need to relax a bit and take a re-look on these. These are just part of life, these are not your failures really, rather tests on how you look at life.

Always have a list of positive people around, these can be family or friends. Talk to these people more often. Positive people are good at appreciation. They help seeing brighter side of things and helps keeping one “hopeful” during trough times.

All the best!!

Look in the mirror, that’s your competition.

                — Mick Kremling

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