I personally suffer a great deal from what psychologists call contrast bias. What this means is that I constantly am comparing and contrasting myself with others who are more successful than I am (or at least I perceive them to be). I look at all their pros but never consider their cons. I value all the things they are outstanding at but never take into account the things they suffer at. By contrast my work, my life, my anything seems weak in comparison.

It has been proven that a great way to advance yourself is to surround yourself by those who are better than you. Want to be a better public speaker? Hang out with people who are amazing public speakers. Want to make more money? Hang out with people who make endless amounts of it. As if by osmosis you yourself will begin to adjust what you do and how you act and your own bar will be raised.

However – if you only surround yourself with people above you, there is the risk of burning out. Of feeling like you can never catch up or reach their level.

Flipping the sides – surrounding yourself with people who are just beneath you will never allow you to advance.

Balance is the key in this situation. Absolutely put yourself in the company of those who are better than you. But spend time mentoring others who want to be where you are. This will boost your confidence and feeling of self-worth. Also spend time with those at the same level as you. Be able to communicate with them on the highs and lows of the challenges you all face.

This way you feel inspired by those you can help out, you can connect with those who are doing what you are doing and you can push forward from those who are beyond where you are presently at.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto