Comparison is terribly misunderstood. Some say’s it’s good because it breeds competition. Other says it’s bad because it screws up your self-image. I think both of these groups are wrong.

Comparison is natural and it’s also completely neutral. The dangers and benefits of comparison are in the scale not in the comparison itself.

For example, many podcasters compare themselves to big podcasters like Joe Rogan. “Why can’t I be like him?” But that’s like loafing in your living room saying “Why am I not on top of Mt. Everest?” “Because your ass is on a couch and not on a mountain!” You can’t get to the top of Everest without getting up and taking every step to get there.

You would never look at a weightlifter and think “Why am I am not ripped like that?” You know the answer. It’s the same as Everest: “Because you like ice cream and Friends re-runs more than going to the gym,” or whatever your real obstacle is. But for some reason we have trouble seeing this when it comes to non-physical achievements. We want to think we can jump straight to the top of the Apple Podcasts mountain.

And here is where the trouble with scale comes in. We look at Joe Rogan and we compare ourself to him. “What does he have that I don’t?”

  • He was already famous when he started
  • He’s financially secure
  • He started earlier
  • He doesn’t have a 9–5
  • He knows famous people

We fill out our own lists and we use them to excuse not trying or giving up. “I don’t have those, so I can’t succeed.” But what we fail to see it that we are comparing tricycles to Harleys; pebbles to pyramids.

📸 Jeremy Bishop

If you have 50 listeners on your podcast, don’t compare yourself to Joe Rogan. Compare yourself to the girl who has 500 listeners. What did she do to get 450 more than you? What can you learn from her to get to 500. Do that. Then when you are at 500, look to the dude with 5000. What did he do to go from 500 to 5000. Keep the scale realistic and build up your muscles. You don’t climb up Everest all at once. You hike your ass off for a day and then sleep, and then you hike your ass off the next day and the next day; gradually getting higher with each day and only looking as far as that warm tent every night.

Compare away but manage the scale. And don’t be a resentful asshole for not achieving something you haven’t worked for. Remember Joe Rogan played a lot of shitty nightclubs before he got a gig on TV and he worked a lot of long production days to get to the point where he had all of the advantages listed above.