Who does the most work in the office? Who gets the most attention? Who does most of the cleaning in the house? Who buys the most presents? Who calls who the most?

The answer is this: No one cares about the silly scorecards inside your brain.

When people keep score, there’s only one outcome: resentment. In social psychology, that’s called the “egocentric bias.” The term was first used by Michael Ross and Fiore Sicoly in a 1979 study. They looked at stuff like cooking, making decisions, causing arguments, or any other things that are a part of relationships and found that nearly 75% of married couples overestimated their contribution to the relationship.

Basically, it’s natural for us to take credit for achievements and blame others for losses. We’re not aware of our egocentric attitudes. That’s why you have to train yourself to stop keeping score. It’s unhealthy and only causes conflicts.

You Have Nothing to Prove

I think there’s a relationship between keeping score and self-confidence. Keeping score is something you do to prove a point and feel good about yourself over someone else.

But here’s the thing: If you’re confident, and you believe in your ability, there’s nothing to prove. Just play your part. It’s none of your business how others behave. If you’re upset about something, that’s an entirely different story. If you feel that your colleague is doing less work than you, say it. Don’t get all frustrated by convincing yourself that you do it all and there’s nothing you can do about it.

When it comes to work, people may say:

  • “You deserve more money because you do all the work.”
  • “You should stop working hard because they don’t value you.”

You might think your friend is giving you good advice, but this type of thinking isn’t helpful at all.

I’ll keep it real with you: don’t complain—act.

Play the Long Game and Collaborate

I’m not saying that it’s OK if you’re in an unequal relationship, personally or professionally. But life isn’t fair. Either change it or get out. Stop thinking in concepts like “fair.” It’s completely meaningless and has no useful function. It only causes conflict because it’s subjective.

Instead, I look at relationships like a long-term collaboration. I don’t worry about keeping score, because I know that, over a lifetime, the score will always be equal—because we all chase the same goals. In the end, everything will even out anyway. Just do what you have to do, and don’t think about who did the most work.

If you really want to achieve things in life and get actual work done, you have to collaborate with others. You’ll never achieve something on your own.

Keeping score is a dangerous trait that you should avoid at all costs. You have the ability to change yourself, but ultimately you can’t change others. You can only make them aware of something. If others decide to change, that’s great. If not, that’s not your problem.

Just understand that this is your life, and that means you decide who you spend your time with.

And if you want to achieve something that matters, you have to surround yourself with good people. People who care about collective results.

This article was originally published on DariusForoux.com. It has been republished here with permission.

Photo of people collaborating courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.