There is another factor that causes us to be obsessed with our limitations: the tendency to compare ourselves with others. There is probably no other habit that chips away at our self-confidence so effectively as the habit of scanning the people around us to see how we compare. It is as if we have a radar dish on our foreheads, constantly searching to see if someone else is quicker, tanner, or brighter. And when we find that at times someone is, we are devastated.

The folly of basing our self-estimate on comparisons is that it puts us on a roller-coaster. Perhaps we are feeling fairly good about our appearance one day, and we find ourselves in the company of someone with stunningly good looks. Suddenly we feel ugly and want to disappear. Or perhaps we know we have above-average intelligence, but we happen to be at lunch with people who are even smarter. Then every word that comes out of our mouths sounds like intellectual sludge.

Some of us grew up with older brothers and sisters who we desperately wanted to emulate, but of course we were doomed from the start. For no matter how hard we tried to catch up, we found ourselves smaller, clumsier, and dumber than they were. And when they ridiculed us-as all older siblings do-we learned to criticize ourselves. In many cases this became a lifelong habit.

But God did not make us to be like our siblings or anyone else. We are absolutely unique. We are the product of 23 chromosomes from our mothers and 23 chromosomes from our fathers, and geneticists say that the odds of our parents having another child like us are one in 102 111x) (“)'””‘ The combination of attributes that constitutes us will never be duplicated. If this is true, and if it is true that we are created by God-an original by a master artist-it makes the exploration and development of that uniqueness an item of the highest priority.


Alan Loy McGinnis. Confidence: How to Succeed at Being Yourself (pp. 25-26). Kindle Edition.