As human beings, we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. It’s human nature. Taller, faster, smarter, happier, nicer, and thousands of other adjectives exist to allow us to make these comparisons.
If you want to move a step closer to happiness, stop comparing yourself to others! There is someone out there who is better than you at something. Look at the Guiness Book of World Records. They are broken every day.
This is not meant to be discouraging. On the contrary. If your ambition is to be the best at something, then by all means go for it.
But for most of us, we get caught up in comparing ourselves to others and we discount our skills and abilities. If you came in 8th place in the Olympics for discus, would you consider yourself a failure? You might since your goal was a gold medal. In reality, though, you are one of the best discus throwers in the world!
And that is how we often approach life. We may feel mediocre, or even like a failure, just because someone else out there is better than we are. Our mission: Stop that!
I am as guilty of this as anyone, but it only happened as I got older. I remember being a little kid and doing random silly things with the thought in mind that I was probably the only person in the world jumping on one foot while touching my nose with my pinky finger and singing the opening song to Fresh Prince of Bel Air. As adults, we seem to lose this creativity and lose perspective as well.
Being comfortable in your own skin takes a lot of hard work. It really does. But learning to take pride in yourself and your abilities/accomplishments is a critical step toward the Happiness Plunge! You may not be the best chef or swimmer in the world, but you are the only person in the world who cooks and swims the way you do! We are all unique, and thus we are all valuable in our own way.
As everyone knows, Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Imagine if he had let that coach’s opinion define who he was? By the way, he probably got B’s and C’s in school. He didn’t let his grades or anything else define who he was.
Listen to your heart and define who you are yourself. Don’t try to define yourself by comparing yourself to others. You won’t get very far and you’ll never measure up that way. Revel in your uniqueness instead.
A short story to wrap this post up. A friend of mine is short. I think he’s a bit self-conscious about it, but he’s learned to flip it around. If the topic of height comes up, he says “The height of a man is measured from the sky to his head, not from his head to the ground.” I liked the saying. That’s partly because I am also short, but mostly because his phrase made us all smile. More importantly, it shifted our attention away from his scare height to his abundant cleverness.
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About Adam Pervez
In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.