A friend just gave me a new framework for ways of comparing things: normative, ipsative and aspirational. So think about reaching a goal, say training for a marathon. Normative – how do I compare to others around me with whom I train: are they getting better faster than me? Ipsative – how do I compare to where I was: am I running at a consistently faster pace than a month ago? Aspirational – how do I compare to where I want to be – can I run 20 miles without puking?
One thing that is cool about this is that different people seem to respond differently these three perspectives. Another is that you can apply it to almost anything you are trying to do in life, including running marathons and writing (g)rants. The insight into which of the three works best for oneself can only help reach the goal.