Week 1 6— The Only Comparison That Matters
Keeping up with the Joneses
We always compare ourselves to others.
We compare how we’re doing in life to our neighbors, the Joneses.
Why do we do that?
Not to spoil the ending of the movie for you, but there’s always going to be someone who has it better than us, and there’s always going to be someone who has it worse than us.
And there’s going to be a bunch of people in both groups.
What does that have to do with us?
The only comparison that matters is with ourselves.
Where are we now, compared to where we were yesterday, or last month, or last year?
Are we moving forward? Are we on the right road?
These are the comparisons that matter.
I mean, I get it. We’re all human. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. To keep score.
And it can be fun sometimes, especially if we’re the Joneses and things are going real well.
But where does it end? And, in the end, what difference does it make?
When we compare ourselves to ourselves — to who we were last month or last year — we always have the chance for improvement.
To get better.
But when we compare ourselves to others, it’s out of our hands!
We’ve taken something that was in our control… how are WE doing… and turned it into something out of our control. How are THEY doing?
How are the Joneses doing?
Who gives a shit?!
Comparing ourselves to others not only takes our feelings of achievement and satisfaction out of our control, it can also cause us to start rooting against other people.
If you and the Joneses are equally successful, and something bad happens to them, you’re now doing better than they are, even though you’re in the same place you were yesterday.
Does that make us happy?
What if next time, something bad happens to you? Is that good news for the Joneses? Are they over there popping champagne corks, celebrating another notch in their belt?
Rooting against other people when it has no direct impact on us is a terrible thing. They have a word for “taking pleasure in the misfortune of others.” It’s called schadenfreude… maybe the ugliest word in the English language.
Suddenly, our fellow man is no longer a teammate, but a competitor we want to see fail.
And you know there’s no end to it.
If our happiness or self-worth is determined by our success in relation to others… I don’t know what to tell you. Turn the car around, because that’s a dead-end street.
Like it or not, our only competition, off the playing field, is with ourselves.
— Life is about You Today vs You Yesterday.
Like a prizefight.
You Today needs to kick You Yesterday’s butt.
But You Today can’t get complacent.
You Tomorrow is coming after You Today… tomorrow.
And You Tomorrow is supposed to be a real bad-ass.
So be careful.
— I understand playing the comparison game in grade school or high school, when we’re trying to figure out our place in the world. We’re trying to figure out whether we got lucky, or unlucky, or both.