Guy and a girl sitting on a park bench - girl looking at the guy enviously

How to compete with yourself

You’d have to be superhuman to not experience jealousy at some point in your life. It’s human nature to experience envy –  let’s get real.

Maybe your friend made the A-grade netball team, and you didn’t. Maybe your sibling got the lead role in the school musical, and you only made the chorus.  Or maybe your colleague has been acknowledged for something that they’ve done and you’ve been completely forgotten?!

We are constantly exposed to stories of success – just scroll through Insta and see the many influencers, fitspo personalities, celebrities, and just people you know living their “best life” – it’s hard to not get caught up in it all and find yourself comparing yourself to them.

When we say feeling jealous is human nature, we aren’t wrong. Nasos Papadopoulos in their article, ‘Why Competing with Yourself is the Best Way to Learn Anything’ puts it this way, “In our primal brains, the achievements make other people higher status than us, which make us crave the same achievement, especially when we believe it’s within our reach.”

So how can we use envy to learn more about ourselves?

Understand what envy is.

We actually talking about validating your emotions a lot in our blogs – why? Because it’s important to understand how you feel and accept that envy is just an emotional response to a stimulus. Envy is not a personality trait, and it’s not who you are.

Ask yourself these questions when you feel jealousy appear:

  • “Why do I feel jealous?”
  • “Is this something I could achieve?”
  • “How could I achieve that myself?”

Competition can be constructive.

Jealousy can be a powerful motivator. Maybe your friend got a distinction in an assignment that you didn’t do particularly well in. You could use this to motivate yourself to put more time into your studies, rethink your study plan, or even hire a tutor.

Compete with yourself.

This step is the most important. Compete with yourself – not other people. Use your friend’s assessment mark to motivate you to get a better mark than your last assessment – not to try and beat them at the next one. At the end of the day, it’s not what other people are doing, but rather, it’s about what you are doing and how you continue to show up.

Don’t forget to appreciate your own progress!

You can lose track of the progress you’ve made when you continually compare and compete against other people. Take a moment to list some of the accomplishments you’ve made – big or small – a win is a win, and you might just never know… you could be the motivation for someone who’s looking on from afar.

If you’re struggling to meet your study commitments, it might be worth talking with a tutor,
looking at your study plan, or investigating Peer Assisted Study Sessions.
is an international program, delivered in dozens of countries around the world.