When it comes to escaping the comparison trap, there may be no more helpful illustration than the Parable of the Talents found in the Bible: Matthew 25:14-30. 

The parable focuses on a Master who “entrusted his wealth” to three servants. “To one, he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and another one bag,” and then, he went on a long journey. 

Upon his return, the Master found that the first servant had diligently put the Master’s money to work and turned five bags of gold into ten. The Master turned to the first servant and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your Master’s happiness!’” 

Then, the Master came to the second servant, who turned his two bags of gold into four. And the Master gave him the exact same blessingthat he gave the first servant—even though the second servant wound up with six fewer bags of gold. 

Do you see how countercultural this is? Secular wisdom would look at this scene and say, “Clearly, the servant with ten bags is the “winner,” right?” Not in God’s accounting book. You see, the Master didn’t compare these guys to each other; He compared them to themselves. 

Based on this parable, you can define success in a word: stewardship. Stewardship is doing your best to manage the Master’s stuff by following the Master’s plan. That points you to a significant truth that can help you escape the comparison trap: Remembering that while the world will always value being the best, God values us doing our best with talents he has called us to steward. 

I hope you see how unbelievablyfreeing that truth is because it is impossible to win the world’s game. There will always be somebody bigger, better, richer, smarter, more popular, more talented, and more successful than you. Always! And, if the game is about being the best, you will NEVER escape the comparison trap. The opposite holds true with God’s Way. The only way you “lose” is by not suiting up. As long as you stay focused on God’s plan for you, day by day, seeking to steward better what He’s given you, you win! (Ephesians 2: 8-10). 

The next time you find yourself spiraling into the comparison trap, remember these four ways to escape: 

  1. Be humble (avoid pride). 
  2. Be Thankful for what you have (don’t compare). 
  3. Be honest and just with others (take the high road). 
  4. Do your best with what God has given you. 

Doing Good at Work encourages, equips, and empowers individuals, businesses, organizations, and non-profit leaders to practice good stewardship and be good stewards. It begins by being a good people steward. Schedule a simple “People Strategy” conversation by clicking HERE to learn more. Being a good steward is a choice. 

Being a good steward,

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Dr. Boomer Brown, Ph.D., is the CEO of Doing Good at Work. Doing Good at Work is a 501(c) 3 organization that functions like a business. We desire to “Make People Better” because we know better people make better businesses and better businesses make a better world. Learn more: 

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