Momentum Podcast: 487
Comparisons Will Kill You
by Alex Charfen
I see entrepreneurs all the time comparing their worst day to someone else’s best day. Let’s face it. On social media, people just share their best, but you can’t compare your worst day to what appears to be someone’s best.
Comparison is dangerous. For everyone who appears to be perfect on social media, remember, every person out there is going through something. Don’t ever assume they aren’t.
When someone else shares a positive, use it for inspiration. You are the only person you should judge yourself against. When you compare yourself to yourself, you’ll create more momentum than you ever thought possible.
If you are ready to start creating massive momentum, join our free Facebook group called The Billionaire Code.
Full Audio Transcript
One of the biggest issues I see in the entrepreneurial world today is comparison. Entrepreneurs are comparing themselves to other people, and in the world today, the challenge we have is that social media has created this impression that everyone around us is having a perfect day, and we are the only ones struggling.
As an entrepreneur, when you compare your challenging day to somebody else's best day, it makes it so that you will feel massive constraint. Here's the challenge. Even someone's seemingly best day can be pretty terrible.
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy, and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average, and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority. The few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters.
Clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
I want to share a really personal story with you, to demonstrate why comparison is so dangerous, and why sometimes comparison is just completely out in left field, and it's something you really shouldn't even do. I want to use a story that I tell often to demonstrate this, because here's what I see entrepreneurs do all the time. We compare our worst day to other people's best day. We take a day that we're having in real life, where things are challenging, and frustrating, and we're experiencing constraint, and then we go on Instagram, and Facebook, and we look at what people are putting out there, and they're not telling you the bad stuff.
They're only telling you the good stuff. In fact, you can share an entirely challenging situation in a positive way; let me show you how. I often share with people that when I was younger, in my 20s, and I ran a consultancy, one of the things I ended up doing was going on Home Shopping Network as an invited guest. I worked with a lot of companies, and I was pretty good at public speaking.
When I was in my early 20s, one of the manufacturers saw me training on-air talent, and said, "Hey, why are we using on-air talent? Let's use that kid." I went on air, broke some records, and then I ended up going on air over, and over, and over again at Home Shopping, and ended up having some of the biggest single sales days in consumer electronics in the history of the company, up to the point I was there.
One of those days was when we sold a DVD recorder, and it was incredible. We sold over 12000 console DVD recorders for home entertainment systems in a single 24 hour period. To give you perspective, Best Buy, in the 1000 stores at the time, was selling 200 a week. We sold 12000 in a 24 hour period, and Best Buy was selling 200 a week in 1000 stores.
We blew the doors off of this product, and it was one of the biggest successes in the DVD recorder market ever. In fact, let's be honest. You probably don't have a console DVD recorder in your home theater system. It's probably the single biggest sales event for DVD recorders in history. At least the console type that go into your home theater system.
I have the claim to fame that I probably sold more DVD recorders in a 24 hour period than any human being ever has, except for in wholesale deals. It was incredible. We reset the bar at Home Shopping. They started looking at electronics, today's specials, differently than they had before. They didn't know there could be that much margin in them. It completely changed how the company and how the organization looked at me.
They started calling on me more often, and wanted me to be involved in more sales. It was one of the biggest successes we ever had, right up until it wasn't. When I share the story right up to this point, everybody is like, "Man, what an amazing thing. You sold so much. You broke records," and all of those things are true. What is also true is that a few weeks later, we started getting phone calls about defective power supplies in those same units.
I can remember how tight my stomach got, and how absolutely overwhelming it felt when I found out that one of those DVD recorders was actually smoking in somebody's house. They plugged it in, the power supply overheated, and it started actually smoking. It was one of the scariest phone calls I ever got. Did we just ship 12000 units of product that were going to burn people's houses down?
I laugh about it now only out of nerves, because back then, I can remember back then I had an ulcer, and a bleeding ulcer. I used to often have blood when I went to the bathroom, because there was so much going on in my life, and so much tension, and so much pressure, and noise, and I didn't really know how to calm it down, and I didn't understand how to manage everything, and then all of a sudden, here it was.
One of my biggest successes, and one of the biggest sales days I'd ever had, and a massive cheque that I had gotten, and I got a phone call that it was all under threat. In fact, one of the first demands was that everything that was sold was going to get returned. I was in a panic, so was the factory I worked with, so was everyone else who was involved with this product. We all sprung into action, and started... I'm trying to understand what happened.
We ended up in a place where we almost had a full 100% return of all the products, which would've cost millions of dollars. What ended up happening was we negotiated with Home Shopping, and the... I think it was the FCC; the Federal Communications Commission. I can't remember which body it was that governed this deal, but we actually had to negotiate, and ended up doing a nationwide recall of the power supply to get it out of people's houses, and we offered people a credit, and the replacement of their power supply.
The manufacturer I was working with spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. It actually resolved the issue, and fixed the challenges that were going on at Home Shopping, but it was months of tense phone calls, and negotiations, and conversations with attorneys, and conversations with government regulators, and all kinds of activity that, honestly, I did not get paid for.
I got paid for selling. I didn't get paid for cleaning up the mess. Cleaning up the mess was something that I had to do, because I was involved in the initial deal. When I share with people that I had the biggest sales day of DVD units in the history of the country, that's real, but I also had one of the most stress-filled, and frustrating, and anxiety-producing deals of my life a the same time.
When I share the front end of that, everything I say is true, but when people start comparing themselves to it, what you have to understand is that there's an entire other side to that story that was full of pain, and anxiety, and frustration. I can remember getting on calls, and trying to figure out what had happened. As it turns out, somebody in sourcing in China ordered a power supply that was a couple digits on a model number off.
That couple digits on a model number provided enough power to the machine to make it turn on, but then also enough power to the machine to get it to overheat, start smoking, and there's a possibility it could combust. We never had one light on fire all the way. I laugh only because I remember when we were talking on the phone, we would say things like, "Well, good news is none of them have actually lit on fire. They're just smoking," and it would sound so ridiculous that that was the good news, but it really was.
Over the course of, really, what was about a year, we cleaned up the mess, we went back on Home Shopping with other products, we did what was right for all of the clients, and made everything better. I still remain the record holder in selling DVD players, but honestly, that I event, when I remember it, had far more stress than excitement, had far more anxiety than progress, and I felt way more constraint in that period than I ever felt momentum.
Here's the moral of the story. When somebody else shares something like the sales day that I had, use it for inspiration, and then compare yourself to yourself. When you compare yourself to anybody else, it's only going to create pressure and noise. The best comparison you can make is you to where you were the day before, the week before, the month before, the year before. Are you making progress as who you are?
When you watch somebody else's metrics, or stats, or comments, or likes, or any of those things, what you're doing is you're giving away your own power to grow yourself. You're giving away your own power to have perspective for yourself, and you're giving it to that comparison. Comparisons will kill you, especially today, because here's what I want you to know.
For every influencer with a perfect Instagram page, for every person on Facebook with two million followers, for everyone on YouTube who has hours and hours of views, and tons of likes, and tons of subscribers, every one of them has bad days. Every one of them has challenges right now. Every person out there is going through something. Don't ever assume they aren't, and don't ever assume it's worse for you, because we all are.
I am, my clients are, and every person listening to this podcast is. If right now you're in a temporary low where you don't feel like you're going through something, congratulations. This is a time to create massive momentum, because these times don't come around that often. Take advantage of it. Comparison will kill you. Compare yourself to yourself, and you will feel momentum.
Any time you compare your worst day to somebody else's best day, it's going to hurt, and it just doesn't help you. If you're ready to start creating more momentum, I want to help you. Join our Facebook group, called the Billionaire Code. We have currently over 2000 members, I'm happy to report. We've been growing it like crazy, and it's the group where I share what I want everybody to know.
It's the group where I share information for business owners that are growing, and here's the one catch, and I want you to know this. If you go to Billionaire Code, and you join the group on Facebook, we're going to ask you to answer three questions, and here's the catch. Don't answer the questions, you don't get in. Please, if you do decide to jump into the Billionaire Code Facebook group, answer all three of the questions.
My team monitors it all the time, and we will get you approved and accepted, and into the group. Remember, comparisons are futile. They will hurt you. Compare yourself to yourself, and you will create more momentum than you ever thought possible.