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The sneaky habit that could lead to a quarter-life crisis


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Photo: Stocksy/Alberto Bogo

Chances are, your friends are pretty awesome: driven, passionate, and crushing it at work. And running in a circle of successful women has heaps of benefits. But according to a new LinkedIn study, there’s a sneaky, totally common habit many people in these high-achieving circles do that can sometimes lead to a quarter-life crisis. The trait: comparing yourself to others.

Maybe you had an amazing day at work, signing three new clients, but you go and meet your friend at SoulCycle—and before clipping into her bike, she tells you she just got a huge promotion, which makes your news feel like NBD. Or maybe you bought a killer new pair of shoes you love, only to leave your apartment and feel like everyone else looks better than you do. The comparison games can be endless—and honestly, pretty pointless.

“Remember that everyone is at a different stage in their professional journey.”

According to the LinkedIn data, 75 percent of the 6,000 people surveyed—all between the ages of 25 and 33—experienced a quarter-life crisis at some point, defined as “a period of insecurity and doubt that many people in their mid-20s to early 30s go through surrounding their career, relationships, and finances.” Almost half said the crisis was brought on by comparing themselves to their friends.

How do you stop playing the comparison game and just feel really good about your own life? The study’s author, Blair Decembrele, offers up some insights: “Remember that everyone is at a different stage in their professional journey. Think about what makes you happy in your career and beyond and establish goals that help you work towards your definition of success,” she says. In other words, life is long and everyone succeeds at different speeds. Let your passion guide you and you’ll get to where you want—and are meant—to be. And won’t it be more fun to celebrate that success with your friends?

Here’s how to shake a cousin of the comparison game: imposter syndrome. And you know you’re worth more than whatever you’re job says you are, right?