Let Go of Comparisons to Have Ethical Success

By Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D.

We all strive for success in both our personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, we often rely on others for that “feeling” of success, or for their opinions or approval before we truly feel we’ve made it. However, we each control our own success. Whether under conscious control or not, our thoughts determine our success or failure every minute of every day.

 If business and career growth is your goal, then you must change your mindset and not just your behavior. This requires a willingness to stop thinking in ways that create obstacles, and start thinking in ways that overcome them. One sign that reveals if you are creating obstacles for yourself is if you make too many comparisons.

If you want to create “ethical success,” then you need to reclaim and develop the power of thought. Begin developing the one force that creates true success: the desire to leave the world a better place than you found it. For example, when you are aware of co-workers or competitors less fortunate than you, be grateful that you can both enjoy your success and truthfully wish them well; perhaps you can even do something to help with their condition. This is a very different business approach than the usual “dog eat dog” mindset. Similarly, when you see those who seem to have more than you, be happy for their good fortune rather than envious. This positive attitude will help you have a greater chance for success.

Let go of comparison as a way of functioning in business. Two guaranteed ways to set your business or career on a disastrous course are: 1) to compare and then be envious of those who have good fortune, and 2) to ignore those less fortunate or use them to make yourself feel lucky. Rather, if you wish to set your business or career on a positive course, you shouldn’t make comparisons. You should be happy for those who have good fortune and help someone in need or less fortunate than yourself, perhaps by becoming a mentor.

Success in business comes largely from your beliefs and attitudes. Adopt the following beliefs and attitudes to let go of comparisons and become ethically successful:

1. “True success makes no comparisons and excludes no one. Today I commit to the practice of this truth.” When you remember that you’re here not only for your own success, but also to help others, the positive attitudes of open-mindedness, cooperation, prosperity, and kindness develop. These are also self-perpetuating. A positive attitude is impossible to adopt when you believe you are a victim or when you make constant comparisons, and a posture of rigid defensiveness will surely follow. Instead, commit to eliminating the habit of comparing everyone and everything. By doing so, you won’t have to “try” to be ethically successful; it will simply follow as you practice this lesson.

Seeing yourself as ethically successful, with your accomplishments not being entirely separate from others, creates gratitude for each and every person on your team, as well as your customers. This is how the self-sustaining cycle of ethical success comes into being. All of the comparisons between yourself and others have done nothing but delay the success and dynamic peace that are available to you at all times. The stressors that hatred, jealousy, and resentment create do not exist when comparisons are laid aside.

2. “Today I pledge to lay comparisons aside. Instead, I choose to be helpful and want success for all around me. I am grateful I can do this, I am grateful each time I do it, and I know there is no situation in which this cannot be done.” Know today that you lack nothing in order to create ethical success. You can deny this and choose to give energy to anger, malice, and revenge. Or you can just as easily choose to have gratitude for the opportunities you presently have and will have. When you are tempted to fall back on comparisons, remember this next belief:

3. “There is another choice. I choose gratitude for opportunity, no matter how small.” Gratitude and success occupy the same mind and build upon each other. Similarly, anger, jealousy, hatred, envy, and fear can crowd your thoughts, and they, too, build upon each other. Gratitude is an aspect of ethical success. It is a doorway that allows you to find opportunity rather than obstacles. Today, remind yourself many times of the following belief:

4. “Letting go of comparisons is the way to true gratitude and ethical success.” Have you become accustomed to looking to other people for gratification, gratitude, and validation? Do you attempt to be compassionate, kind, and forgiving, but stop if you don’t get validation from others? You may find yourself returning to your old fear-based ways when you don’t get the responses you expect.

5. “Only my own gratitude matters.” Looking to others for validation is simply your ego talking. This originates in the belief that your happiness is dependent on the outside approval of others. This is a very limiting belief to your success and the success of your business.

6. “Every positive thought and action I bring to my company matters.” Be concerned with who you are right now, not what you have or have not done in the past. This way you can eliminate negative thoughts or emotions you may have about the past. Be grateful for your capacity to create ethical success by directing your thoughts. This is a profound and useful gift that is always available to you.

By practicing these beliefs and placing an emphasis on being kind to people, both in thought and action, you can achieve ethical success. This does not mean that you let people walk all over you or lose your competitive edge. Allow your thoughts of success to expand to all the people in your life. Want the best for all, including yourself and your company. Remember that when you are defensive and afraid, you have nothing, but when you are kind with a grateful heart, you have everything. It is then that you can be truly ethically successful.

[This article is an edited excerpt from the book Walking Through Walls: Practical Spirituality for an Impractical World, by Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D.]

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