Overcoming procrastination isn’t as simple as keeping a to-do list. There are often significant (and often hidden) mental hurdles that can prevent us from doing our best work. Scientific American interviews Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School, to explore why we sabotage ourselves. One of the culprits? Comparing ourselves to others. From the story:

Carefully consider the motives that are driving our decisions, and examine whether they are driven by the bitter feelings resulting from where we stand in comparisons to others.

On a wide range of dimensions, from how trustworthy we are to how good looking others find us to be, we often compare ourselves to our peers to evaluate where we stand. These types of social comparisons can lead to irrational behaviors. For instance, we may accept a job offer paying a lower salary than another that pays more but where other people like us make more money than we would.

Read the entire interview here.

  • Vipsu

    “we may accept a job offer paying a lower salary than another that pays
    more but where other people like us make more money than we would” 😀 I didn’t quite follow.. but important topic anyhow!

    • Jason Smith

      I agree, the grammar of that sentence is a little odd.

      • Sean Blanda

        Good point. The author was referring to taking a job because of the “prestige” rather than what is rationally good for you.

  • Tama L

    Very true, Sean. When trying to create something- a piece of writing or art- we must stop wondering whether it’ll be better or worse than something created by others. We can worry about that much later!

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