“Comparison is the thief of joy”
– Theodore Roosevelt
In This Episode
You’re going to learn how to have a proper perspective on where you are in life, in relationships, in your personal growth, business and more. You’re going to find out how making comparisons, as President Teddy Roosevelt stated above, will leave you feeling mentally defeated.
Always Playing Catch-Up
I’m the youngest of my 6 siblings which means, as I was growing up, I was always learning and accomplishing things after everyone else had already been down that road. It’s kind of like discovering a great book five years after everyone else read it. It’s anti-climactic, and usually get’s a response like “yeah, been there… done that.”
Guess who was the last person to learn to walk in my family, me. Guess who was the last one potty-trained, me. The last one to learn to read, me. The last one to buy a house, me. It’s me… me… me… I was the last one to do each of those things. But, I also was the one who started after everyone else.
The good news is, at some point in life, that time gap begins to shrink. Now I can walk just as well as each of them, I use the potty almost as well as the rest of them and I’m a pretty good reader as well.
If I Start After You, It’s Ok If I Finish After You.
In the world of competitive racing, they don’t start everyone at the exact same time. It’s not like you imagine where a starter’s pistol goes off and the clock starts ticking. That starters pistol just signals the time when you can start moving towards the starting line.
Your official time doesn’t begin until YOU cross the starting line. This is the way we should look at things in life; we don’t focus on how fast we did compared to when someone else got to the finish line, but in comparison to when we started.
In fact, I would encourage you to simply celebrate the crossing of the finish line without comparison to yourself or anyone else, of course.
Comparison Destroys Your Joy
When you compare yourself to someone who is further down a path, you bring into your life envy, because you long to be up where that person is on the path rather than being content with where you are at that time.
But what if you did suddenly find yourself in their place? That might seem like a good thing when you look at the goal of getting to the end of the path, but what about when you look at the goal of EXPERIENCING the path?
If you suddenly take a 1, 5, 10 or 50 mile leap ahead on the path, what will you miss? What beautiful experiences will you have missed out on along that part of the path you skipped over? More importantly, what if there is something you need to find in that part of the path which will help you further down the way? Yes, you may take a giant leap ahead, but it may be at the cost of having to crawl or stop completely, further down the road.
Do don’t wish to be where someone else may be, instead wish to experience all that life has for you to experience.
What About If We’re The Ones Ahead?
Up to this point, I’ve discussed comparing yourself to those who are ahead of you, but what about comparing yourself to the ones behind us? Can this have the opposite effect? Could we actually gain joy from this?
When we engage in “downward-comparison”, we only benefit from it when we find pleasure in someone else’s misfortune or mistakes. But, even that, is a misnomer as we don’t know what they’ve experienced up to that point. We’re again, looking at where we are and not what we have acquired.
This is a completely selfish motivation. You’re not looking at them to better understand them or their place in life. You’re not looking at them to see if there is a place where you can help. Instead, you’re looking at them to quench your ego. When you do this, you rob yourself of greater enrichment through understanding and experiencing what others have to offer.
Call To Action
Look at where you are right now. Ask yourself if you’ve made progress and what you have acquired during that progress. Don’t measure yourself based on how far you’ve travelled, but on how much you’ve experienced in your travels.
Take an inventory of yourself. What have you learned over the past day, week, month, year or longer?
Look down at your path and look at what your options are when it comes to taking your next step.
Look up from time-to-time to see where you want to go and then make your decision on where you should step next. One step, one movement and one direction at a time.
Have you got a lesson to share in this area? I am not the sole proprietor of these lessons, in fact, I can only provide a very narrow view of this topic. Share your view on the Facebook page so others can get a bigger picture. What have you learned in this area? Go to Facebook.com/PDesmondAdams
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