Why You Should Forget What the Joneses Are Doing

5 min. readbyVexxit StaffonJuly 30, 2021
Keeping up with the Joneses. Almost all of us do it. But trying to keep up - or one up - is an exhausting, never-ending and expensive task. Explore why choosing authenticity over comparison leads to less stress, more money, and stronger relationships.

When much of your success is based on the connections you make and the reputation you build, it can be hard not to sneak a peek at what the person next to you is doing. You know, the guy at the conference wearing the expensive suit with the perfectly styled cut, or the one who pulls up to your meeting in a car worth more than your yearly salary.

If you compare your own life to how you perceive theirs to be, you’re not alone. It’s natural to want to keep up with the Joneses, a term that was coined in the early 1900s to describe our need to compare ourselves to those around us. It was around the same time that literary great Mark Twain was quoted as saying, “Comparison is the death of joy.”

Some things never change.

There will always be someone who appears to be better off than you are, and they’re probably influenced by what someone else is doing, too. They may even be facing their own financial struggles. Over half of Canadians—53%—live paycheque to paycheque, while 25% say they are overwhelmed by debt.

Trying to keep up—or one-up—is an exhausting, never-ending and expensive task. It’s a vicious cycle of comparison that will constantly have you searching for something more.

If you think about it, when’s the last time you hired someone because they had a fancy car? Chances are, you work with the people you do because you value them and not their possessions. You appreciate what makes them authentic.

When you embrace who you are and not who you think you should be, who cares what the Joneses are doing? Working and living authentically will get you farther than a nice car any day.

Here are some of the surprising benefits to choosing authenticity over comparison.

You’ll have more money for what matters

“Fake it ’til you make it” may not cut it if you’re counting on your future earnings to get you out of debt. Living within your means now will give you the freedom to enjoy the things you want when they’re financially feasible.

You’ll have greater confidence

By focusing on the things that money can’t buy, such as your skills, personal qualities and talents, you’ll have greater confidence in your abilities. If you’re confident in your abilities, you’ll trust your judgment more. If you trust your judgment, you’ll make better choices. Unlike the cycle of comparison, this is a positive cycle to get caught up in.

You’ll stress less

When your image revolves around what you have rather than who you are, your inclination is to maintain that image. That might mean working more hours to bring in a higher income or taking on debt, both of which can increase stress levels. More authenticity equals less stress, which is linked to better health and wellbeing.

You’ll gain trust

As a professional, trust is part of the territory. Once your clients realize what they see is what they get, they’ll be more inclined to see you as trustworthy and someone they can rely on.

Your relationships will improve

Relationships that barely scratch the surface are far from fulfilling. In work and in life, relationships grounded in authenticity are simply more enjoyable to be in. By living your truth, you’ll attract associates and clients who want to work with you because of who you are and what you have to offer—and you might even like your job more as a result.

You’ll foster growth

Living authentically gives you security in your own capabilities, which allows you to learn from others instead of comparing yourself to them. There is no harm in reaching out for advice or asking for help when you feel stuck. A willingness to learn is an opportunity to grow.

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