[January 26, 2023] Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. You need to be aiming for something – a higher goal – and that means you’re going to be lesser than other people who’ve already attained status in that aim. My second lesson for men is, “Don’t compare yourself to others because doing so creates unintended consequences.”
If you look at people and think, wow, I’d like to be them, then you need to know that you’re comparing yourself to people you don’t really know. That means you see their good, shiny outside, but you don’t see the reality of their life.
You can’t tell about others. And people have hard lives, and comparatively fortunate people have hard lives. The ideal you are observing that makes you jealous and resentful is, in large part an illusion created by your mind.
I’ve known many highly successful folks who are in high-status careers, high pay, high visibility and were all self-made. They all have a heavy responsibility burden that would crush the typical person. They’re just working flat out, 80 to 90 hours a week, and they have thousands of people depending upon them.
These successful people have their money and their status, and that’s not nothing but don’t think that there isn’t a price paid for that. They don’t see their families, they’re often divorced, they don’t see their children grow up, they have few friends, and they don’t have time off.
Be careful what you are jealous of because you don’t know what their life is truly like. And remember that you are different from everyone else, and you shouldn’t compare yourself to them because they’re not like you. They don’t have your family or temperament or troubles or abilities. The only person who has those is you.
Even if things are going pretty well for you now, there’s going to be a time in the future when things are rough. You’ll be sick, family members will be ill, your dreams will fall apart, and your employment status will change quickly. The flood is coming. Things are not working out for you.
The question is, “Who should you defeat in the final analysis?” And the answer is, “You should defeat your former self.” You should constantly be trying to do that, and you are in proper control of yourself because it is you who has had all your advantages and disadvantages. If you want to compete fairly with someone, then compete with you.
If you are improving yourself, then what you are doing is competing with your lesser self. That lesser self is you as resentful, bitter, aggressive, vengeance-seeking, and all of those things that go along with poor moral character. Your lesser self is slowing your progress toward a better life.
The meaning of life is to be found in that pursuit.
Men! Don’t compare yourself to others.
Note: The thumbnail for this series on lessons for men comes from a painting by Victor Bauer. I like his work, which is found on his website for purchase. He works mainly in oil. Go there and purchase one of his works at this link (click here).
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