Comparison Traps

A hundred years ago, all we knew and saw were the others in our town.

There was no internet; no Instagram; no pictures and documentaries to show us how the rich and famous lived.

Cities showed a wider view, but fewer people lived in urban areas. And cities had their own problems.

We had far fewer people to compare ourselves to.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” as the saying goes.

It makes sense; happiness is equal to results minus expectations.

Comparing ourselves to the top people in the world is bound to raise our expectations.

Higher expectations and comparison can be good.

If we can join a group of people who are already where we want to be—fit, happy, ambitious—we can use their influence to motivate us.

If we join a group of people at the same stage as us, with the same goals, we can progress together. We can motivate each other and measure our progress against theirs.

But when we compare ourselves to groups we can’t join, and ignore the role of luck and circumstance, we are bound to get discouraged.

Comparisons can motivate, discourage, and make us feel as though we aren’t enough.

Choose your comparisons wisely.