It's no wonder we fall in the trap of comparing ourselves to others. We can learn a lot about ourselves by noticing others, by seeing how others handle situations and how others think. We've probably done this for a long time. As children it was a useful way to understand the world around us. We can model ourselves on the behavior and expectations of others, particularly people who we admire.
So what is wrong with doing that as we get older? How is that not positive? Of course it still may be positive for us and help us to learn about ourselves or to consider other ways of handling situations. The risk to our positivity comes when we lose sight of who we are are and when our comparisons with others make us feel bad or helpless.
There will always be people who appear to have lots of money, plenty of time, a perfect family, the perfect job, a perfect home... The list goes on. If we turn our attention to what others have and what we don't have we are expending energy in ways that aren't going to change our own circumstances. Trying to replicate others' lives or keep up with others mean we are not being true to ourselves. We are also narrowing down options that might work for us because we are taking on what works for others rather than looking at our own unique life and what brings us meaning and happiness. That cannot possibly be the same as another person.
Sportspeople are often advised to work towards their personal best when training and competing rather than focusing on how others are going. This approach recognises that it's our own development and improvement that will make the difference in the long run. By focusing energy on doing things better for ourselves,learning about ourselves and continuing to grow and develop, we will be more likely to be successful. We will also be more open to ideas that will work for us. We can do this in our own lives, whether we are sportspeople or not, by reflecting back on how things were in the past, what we have learned, challenges we have overcome and what brings our lives purpose and meaning. This approach will assist us to be more positive and build our sense of who we are.