Comparing ourselves to others is for noobs!
As people, we’re funny. There’s this natural tendency to compare ourselves to others.
Typically, we do something like this:
- Me: $30
- Donald Trump: $eleventy billion
- Conclusion: I suck
- Me: kinda good looking
- Angelina Jolie: super hot (if you go for that sort of thing)
- Conclusion: I suck
There are a couple of obvious issues here. One might be our choice of attribute to compare. I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise, but people are a bit more complex than just hotness + wealth.
So why compare ourselves based on wealth, or hotness? Just coz people are generally deluded into believing they’re important? It’s as arbitary & ridiculous as lining up the planet according to nose freckliness!
So, maybe if we are going to compare ourselves to others, we should just choose better. Eg
- Me: Nice hair
- Donald Trump: Nice toupee?
- Conclusion: I rock!
Now, this isn’t about taking cheap shots at famous people. Far from it.
It’s a natural tendency to compare ourselves to others, particularly when we think they’re better than us in some way. Know what though? It’s pretty much bullshit.
Making these comparisons is a recipe for misery & disaster. But you already knew that.
Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. ~Malcolm S. Forbes
So here’s a better suggestion. Just be you.
In fact, here’s a even better suggestion than that. Why not be the most amazing you you possibly can be?
Do you reckon when you get up to heaven, God’ll say to you “Man, you were the lousiest Jack Black ever!”? Of course not. There’s already a Jack Black here & he’s doing a perfectly good job of being him, thankyouverymuch.
You’re here with one purpose. To be you.
Not to be anyone else. Not even to be like anyone else, unless you really want to be (& I’ve gotta admit, Jack’s maniacal grin does have a certain appeal).
Other people’s opinions are none of my business
Hey, & while we’re on the subject, what’s up with caring what anyone else thinks?
They’re here to live their life. You’re here to live your life. If they want to think your life is particularly silly? Well, uhh, so what?
After all, they are allowed to have any opinion they like. Doesn’t make it true! And, while we’re there, you’re welcome to have any opinion you like about their life. Doesn’t make your opinion true either (although, of course, we all like to think we’re right. Heh)
If you’ve been hanging out on Twitter, you’ll know exactly what I mean. You say something, & suddenly people unfollow you. What the?!? Well, you know what? If they don’t like what you say, why would you want them following you anyway? If they don’t like who you truly are (assuming you’re being genuinely yourself, of course) then they’re going to make pretty lousy friends.
Ahh, life, it’s a funny old thing.
So, to recap. Just be you. What anyone else thinks of you? Well, that’s really none of your business, so just let it go. That’s their problem, not yours.
But who am I?
Now of course, all this just raises another question. How the hell do you know who you are? The “Why am I here?” question is one of life’s biggies.
Well, here’s a secret. This is why we have emotions. They’re like little signposts.
Basically, anything you do which takes you closer to a place of true joy? That’s you. That’s you really being you.
I’m not talking about enjoyment – the brief happiness that comes from eating an icecream or a particularly satisfying game of Halo – I’m talking about deep, abiding joy.
Here, watch this video. See the spark on their faces? That’s joy. That’s a couple of people doing what’s nearest & dearest to their hearts.
Know what? You have that inside you too. Maybe you’ve found it, maybe you haven’t yet, but it’s there.
There’s something, or many things, that are super easy to you. That you just happen to be great at. You probably don’t think it’s so much, but other people look & go “Wow, how are you so awesome at that?” Well, that’s where you should be looking. That’s a clue.
If time seems to stand still, or the whole day disappears while you’re doing something? That’s a clue too.
If something is making you feel crappier? Well, that’s a sign you probably shouldn’t be doing it so much. We’re here to be happy, after all. How do I know? The Dalai Lama told me, & who am I to argue with him!
Finding that joy, that raison d’etre? That’s the thing to chase. Or rather, that’s the thing to chill out, stop stressing about life & let it find you. Just pay attention, it’s there, you’ll see it.
Bigger is not better. Think quality not quantity
Oh, & while we’re on the subject? This whole fascination the western world seems to have with changing the world? That the only life worth living is one where the whole world knows your name? Well, screw that too.
Life is much, much simpler than that. Sure, some people are gonna be the Mother Therasas, the Bill Gateses, the Michael Jordans (ha ha, name plurals crack me up) of the world, but that’s not what it’s about.
It’s about the people around you. Those are the people that you’re really affecting.
If you’re filled with joy & doing what you love, even if it’s something as simple as tending the garden out the front of your cottage, you’re adding so much light to the world. When you’re happy, the people around you feel that. They get happier. The world needs more happy people, so start with you.
Forget about the starving children in Africa (unless that’s where your joy is). Every day you’re slightly happier, slightly more full of joy, doing that which brings you joy, the world is a better place. The people around you will be in a better place because of you. You’ll be inspiring them.
That’s all that matters. Everything else is just details.
It’s ok to have what the world might deem a small life. What matters is just that you lived it fully. That you followed your heart. That, as much as possible, you felt that joy inside you & let it spill out into the world around you. Whether the world that you influence has five billion people in it or only five is entirely irrelevant. Think quality, not quantity.
Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, so you in your joyful place will lift all those around you. Be that tide. Be truly you.