Comparison is the thief of all joy.
As part of my off-season conditioning, I usually find new places to train. In one of my recent sessions, I trained alongside a player in the Canadian Football League who has dreams of making to the NFL. Throughout the workout I could tell he was sizing me up, trying to see what, if anything, differentiates he and I. I could tell that he was doing that because I usually do the exact same thing.
One of the biggest lessons I’m learning in life is that I am much better off not comparing myself to the next guy. Often times when I do compare myself, I find myself either feeling less adequate, thus deflating my ego, or better than, thus inflating it. There rarely has been a time when I said, “I’m just like that guy!” Usually the response, whether verbalized or internalized, is one of disdain or a feeling of jealousy. Instead of being genuinely happy for the other person, usually – if they’re doing something really awesome in my eyes – I feel a little sense of loss. Like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do. It’s like the happiness I should have for them is replaced with a sadness for what I’m not or should be doing. Or I try to change to be like them, and that never works. Comparison is the thief of all joy.
We even see this phenomenon in some of our presidential hopefuls. Donald Trump is known, for lack of better terms, to speak his mind and badmouth people. Marco Rubio, for his part, hasn’t traditionally been known for this. However, as of recently we’ve seen Rubio attempt to take on some of these tactics. Badmouthing other candidates and being more “Trump-like.” This hasn’t worked and things have gotten even uglier than they already were. And let’s not even get started about Chris Christie…
Needless to say, what I’m learning is that when I don’t compare myself or try to change and be like someone else, I get my joy back. I’m happy with what I’ve done because it’s what I’ve done and it’s my best. And there’s the key. Do YOUR best. Not someone else’s best, YOUR best. Once you do that, you can genuinely be happy for others because you’re not them, and they’re not you. Colossians 3:23 says “In everything you do, work as if you’re working for the Lord and not for man.”
God wants your best. Not someone else’s best.