The Power of Comparison

Using comparison is a Powerful Presence strategy that will surprise you.
It’s no surprise that comparing yourself to anyone else is unproductive, as well as self-defeating. It’s also pointless to compare anyone else with any other person on the planet. There is no comparison with people, when each of us is completely unique.
So what good does comparison do? I’m so happy you asked! Comparison is only useful when you use it on circumstances.

Comparison is the behavior of choice when you want to expand your perspective.

Comparison can pop you right out of 1st Gear into 3rd Gear. In case you’re reading my blog for the first time, here are the distinctions:


  • 1st Gear is your subjective experience; it’s always right and always true, although only for you.

  • 3rd Gear is the objective perspective, like that of an interested observer.

  • You feel your emotions in 1st Gear; you harness your logic in 3rd Gear.

  • You can get stuck in your emotions in 1st Gear. That renders you unable to see past your current circumstances, or to find your way out.

  • 3rd Gear allows you to step back and get a broader perspective; you’re not “in it” when you’re an observer. You can see more from that vantage point, because you’re not the captive of your emotions.

I had the opportunity to practice this strategy this past Sunday and Monday as I was attempting to get home from a long-overdue and extremely transformative visit with my sister, Susan, and her family in Auburn Maine.
Starting last Wednesday, three things happened in a row.


  1. My Blackberry died the afternoon before my travel, while I was on the phone with a client. I had to go to the phone store that evening to get a replacement phone; in the hour-long process, I lost half my contacts, lost access to email and had no downtime with Chuck (who had just come back from 12 days of travel three days earlier). I was going to be completely out of touch with my office  for 4 days.

  3. I had a wonderful time with my sister and spent 4 days completely immersed in the experience. Neither of us got much sleep.

  5. My Sunday flight home was cancelled that afternoon as we prepared to take the hour-long drive to Portland. That put into motion some wonderful things (I got to spend Sunday evening with my sister and her husband as we drove north for 2 hours so I could depart from Bangor the next morning; we agreed that our bonus visit on the drive, and at dinner together, was worth all the inconvenience) and some very challenging things: (sporadic sleep on Sunday night as a result of noise inside and outside the airport hotel and a 10-hour layover at the Philly airport on Monday, due to cancelled and delayed flights.)

These circumstances gave me the perfect opportunity to practice my comparison strategy.
I read somewhere that when you’re stressed, you’re stupid; lack of sleep and airline travel definitely qualify as huge stressors. When you’re on your last nerve, it’s really hard to be resourceful. Without a Powerful Presence strategy that you can instantly access, it’s gonna be a very long, very baaaaaad day. Luckily, I’ve been using this strategy for over 30 years and it’s paid off in spades for me every single time.
Here’s how it works:


  1. Pay attention to your feelings right now: You feel like crap and you’re on your last nerve. All of the circumstances you’re facing seem like “the worst thing that could possibly happen!” You feel like you’re drowning in difficulty and you’re on the brink of a nuclear meltdown.

  3. Think of something WORSE: There are several circumstances I use when I need a comparison. Being on a train on my way to the ovens at Auschwitz. Walking out to the village square to be executed. Being a victim of a natural disaster who’s lost everything, including my husband.

  5. Compare the Worst Case Scenario with your Circumstances: The minute you compare your circumstances with one of these Worst Case Scenarios, you’ll notice how quickly you feel relieved! All you’re dealing with right now is inconvenience and a lack of sleep. There’s a bed waiting for you when you get home; you’ve got all your body parts and your family; you will live through this. The physical impact of this strategy is immediate. Pure relief – like you just escaped with your life. You can handle anything now.

As a result of using my strategy, I kept my sense of perspective and got resourceful. There was a Marriott Hotel attached to the Philly Airport and I took myself there for five of the ten hours I had to wait. Because I’ve spent so much time in hotels as a speaker and trainer, being near the meeting rooms of any hotel feels like home to me. I got a chair in a quiet corner near the empty ballrooms, settled in with my very good book and plugged in my iPod for continuous classical music to sooth my soul and my nerves. Then I had an elegant dinner in the midst of people who were enjoying themselves; I felt supported, resourceful and surrounded by abundance. When my plane landed at the Akron Canton Airport at midnight on Monday night, I still felt that sense of peace and gratitude–even though I was tired.
I’ve never been more convinced that Powerful Presence really works!
One of the foundational Beliefs of Powerful Presence is that “every obstacle brings a gift.” The gift of my obstacles this past week is the opportunity to share this strategy with you.
I hope you won’t need to use this strategy this week. However, when you do, I’m confident that it will work wonders!

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One Response to “The Power of Comparison”

  1. Great strategy Maia! I will try this next time I’m stressed!

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