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Despite all that your lecturers probably ever told you, your exam results are not the most important thing in the world and do not define your worth or cleverness. As someone said in much better words:

Please remember strangers gave you these scores. And remember that there are many ways of being smart. These strangers do not know that you can play the violin or dance or paint a picture. They do not know that you take care of your little brother after school, that your friends can count on you, that your laughter can brighten the dreariest days.

Mary Ginley, 1998 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year

So, if you’ve not quite got the exam results you hoped for and your friends have done really well, try not to let jealousy get the better of you. Check out our top reasons why it’s not worth comparing your marks with that of others.

If you often find yourself lacking, you’re setting yourself up for failure

Constantly judging your achievements against toppers in your class often leads to low self-esteem.  In life, there is always going to be someone subjectively “doing better” than you, and if you judge yourself by those standards, you’re never going to feel good about yourself.  This can lead into a downward spiral of giving up on goals because you feel you can never measure up.

You are unique!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.” – Steve Jobs in his commencement speech at Stanford.

Check out this inspiring speech by Steve Jobs here.

So, life is all about moving forward. The absolute benchmark to measure how far we have come should be our own goals. On the contrary, we tend to set other’s achievements as our benchmark, which means we are actually trying to be like them, which Jobs strongly warned against doing. So, the next time you see someone perform better than you in an exam, don’t feel inferior and don’t let your morale dip. Your goal wasn’t to be ahead of someone else but to be at the finish line itself.

You do not know what the other guy has been through

Often, when we compare ourselves with others, we are ignorant of what all the other guy must have been through. He or she performed better maybe because he or she already had a head start, or performed worse because he or she had too much to cope with. A fair comparison can never be done because there are so many details to it and it’s too tedious to figure all of them out.

The only measurement of success is yours

Ultimately, success isn’t about someone else’s life.  It’s about your life and your outlook about it.  For example, let’s say you are an aspiring children’s author, and your book gets picked up by a local press.  That, in turn, gets you more writing gigs and you eventually make a decent living in your region.  If you compared your body of work to Dr. Seuss in terms of profitability and fame, you would be unhappy forever. Letting go of comparisons can help you define success for yourself.

Your disappointment could become your motivation

Failing your exams isn’t the end of the world and often failure is the first step towards success. If you’ve not done as well as you’d hoped, try not to worry or stress over it. There are still plenty of options available to you. Rather than using your energy on feeling upset about your results, focus it on thinking about what positive action you can take to move forward.

So, while the first thing you may want to do is call your bestie and compare marks so that you can wallow or celebrate together, remember that comparing doesn’t actually achieve anything other than diminishing your sense of self. More often than not, comparisons just bring negativity in doses that’ll turn you into a mini Regina George.

If you’re still feeling a bit down, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time chilling out, listening to your favourite songs on repeat, watching your favourite movie or going out for a bit of exercise. Check out our top ideas to take your mind off of exam results stress here.

Here‘s what you can do while waiting for exam results!

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