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Advice on not comparing yourself to talented smart people.

Something I've always struggled with as a student and person in general, is comparing myself to others. Whether if it's looks or intelligence, I always seem to find a way to compare said person and myself. The colleges I want to get into are extremely competitive, so when I can't do something, I always think, "kids at MIT/CalTech/etc could do this easily. You can't do it like them, so maybe you should rethink your college choices", "what makes you think you can be like them? What makes you think you can take a school with people much smarter than you?", or something along the lines of that; maybe the classic "you're not good enough for Computer Science, they want people who can solve or make an algorithm like it's the abc's". When this happens, I try to redirect my thoughts or take a deep breath. Recently, I've been working on focusing on myself, but it's easier said than done. I was wondering if anyone had different strategies that they use and if they would like to share them.

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Mary’s Answer

First and foremost, we are all in a race of our own. There is no one person in the world who's circumstance or situation is the exact same, many people take different paths to get to the same location and different speeds, remember that. Secondly, success is specific to a person; society may say having a house, a car, job & good looking family is successful. But successful to you may be waking up with a smile everyday and being able to do what you love, alone. With that being said, the moment you start comparing yourself to others you lose, because you well never measure up & the bar is constantly changing. My advice to you would be use daily affirmations reminding yourself how great you are, be honest with yourself on what you want, where you are & how you get there. Make a vision board, set some goals & knock them in silence, be your biggest cheerleader. Then one day you will look up & you be doing exactly what you're meant to be doing & happy doing it, neverminding those around you. And if you do mind those around you, it will be in celebration rather than competition or doubt.
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Lori’s Answer

I can relate. The way I built my self-esteem was to compare myself to others in high school, academically. It is not a negative thing to do if it acts as a catalyst----but when it makes you feel inferior, stop. IT IS NOT ABOUT BEING GOOD ENOUGH. No one is born knowing things. They learn. You have learned so many things! Learning something well requires TIME. If you are willing to discipline your days to devote the TIME to learn, YOU CAN DO IT.

Here is one thing about human nature I have learned: most people are not naturally talented or "smart". We are all capable of learning and applying that knowledge. Does it take some people more or less time than others? Yes! It took me longer to study in college than my peers. I recall studying 16 hours over three days for my first Lit test. I aced it. Guess what? My recall and deep understanding is still with me. I KNOW the content well. Many people learn quickly, ace a test, then "dump" what they learn. The goal is to learn deeply and apply it---THAT is what most people cannot do well and how you will stand head and shoulders above the "competition".

My advice: Know thyself. And your question indicates that you do! Just know that self-doubt is normal. Don't let it scare you. With daily actions toward your goal you will discover ways to work around your real, or imagined weaknesses. A weakness, for example, may be a soft skill like learning to talk to strangers or a "hard" skill like math. Both kinds can be learned!

Lori recommends the following next steps:

Check out this resource: https://www.yourinstructionaldesigner.com/post/how-time-impacts-growth-mindsets
https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-05-05-researcher-behind-10-000-hour-rule-says-good-teaching-matters-not-just-practice
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Steven’s Answer

If you really think about it, there can only be 1 person at any point in time who is the best at any particular thing. So no matter if you are at MIT or at another college, most likely everyone will have moments of thinking they are not good enough as there will always be someone who is better.

At the end of the day, what I would suggest is to just focus on yourself and not compare yourself to others. Set goals for yourself that don't involve comparing yourself to others so you can objectively track improvements in what you want to achieve. Whether that is getting better at computer programming, exercising, or setting aside time to pursue hobbies. That was you can focus on yourself (because at the end of the day, all that matters is how you feel about yourself) and see how you are slowly improving in the areas you want to focus on.
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Gopi’s Answer

Comparing yourself to ANYONE is disrespecting YOURSELF. You must not do that. Yes, do learn from others that motivate you. Comparison dose not improve you so instead of comparing, do the work to make your self better person.
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