Comparison is what drives us to give up or to grow jealous of other people.
I’d even go as far as to say it can ruin peoples lives too. This might seem extreme in some peoples eyes, but it makes sense.
Take a look at the vast majority of people in debt. Although some of them didn’t have much choice, some are there by choice. It’s a little difficult to see past that since these individuals drive expensive cars, have large houses, and live a lavish lifestyle.
I’m not saying all rich people are in debt. But certainly some of them are.
All of that could be a result of a deep down comparison of themselves to someone else. Whether they were comparing themselves to the “poor choices their parents made” or something else, it doesn’t matter.
The fact is, we’ve gone so deep into comparing ourselves with others that we’re going into debt. This is dangerous.
We can recover ourselves from comparison though.
All it takes is understanding why we compare ourselves to others, then doing something about it.
We Naturally Gravitate Towards The Negative
The fastest way to kill something special, is to compare it to something else. — Anonymous
Negativity can be quite attractive to people.
When you ask people about their day, their first immediate thought is something negative. This same principal is applied when we compare.
We have a tendency to look at ourselves and see one of our many flaws as a huge crutch.
We then compare that to someone else who is a lot better off.
For example, some people who look rich at one point compared their current standings with someone with far more success.
This could be someone who they saw on TV winning a game show, or perhaps it was a successful entrepreneur or celebrity.
Why I’m saying it’s a problem is because people are comparing apples with oranges.
It’s like that picture with the iceberg. We see the success immediately but don’t see the several years of work to get there.
That’s why comparison can be dangerous as we habitually overlook what it took to get that success.
We Were Raised In Such A Manner
Have more than you show, and speak less than you know. — William Shakespeare
Comparison becomes developed as a child, and much like our child habits, these grow and develop as we get older. Comparison started once we were told we needed to be better than other people, as the first answer to this question suggests.
This was slowly developed over time and it makes sense.
We compare our results of test scores with our friends and other students.
Competition begins to develop, and thus comparison.
We did this so instinctively that comparison has become something natural that we do.
Paired with the fact we look at our own inadequacies, we experience jealousy and a desire to live like they do.
There is nothing wrong with that, however many people go about this the wrong way.
What To Do About It
Comparison is the thief to joy. — Theodore Roosevelt
With those facts in mind, its clear comparison was taught to us over extended periods of time. Therefore we can unlearn it.
Or should we?
I believe that they are right when others perform better than others. This is a fact of life. Those who succeed have something different that we lack.
But instead of looking at someone success and comparing it to your life, start by asking yourself questions.
How did they get there?
What did they do?
What are you doing differently than them?
Not every person is completely equal. Some people deserve awards, others don’t.
But it’s seeing comparison as a tool to grow yourself rather than to tear yourself down.
Comparison in that respect can be very helpful for you.
Now that you have an idea of why we compare, let’s all work on comparing ourselves to push ourselves further.
Compare who you are today with who you were the day before.
Realize that even though others have what you want, you can get to where they are just the same as they did.
Let them be your coach and guiding point towards the life you want to lead.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon
This post is part of an 3 month writing challenge that I’m committing myself to. Every day for 3 months, I’ll be writing articles with specific criteria in mind. You can learn all about my reasoning as well as what that criteria is right here. This is 12 of 91 of this series.
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