Comparison: The thief of all joy?

“Comparison is the thief of joy” – wise words from Theodore Roosevelt. I can think of many people who suffer as a result of comparison. Comparing yourself to another can only lead to misery – whether that’s in the context of your career, your personal life or any other aspect.

It’s important to set yourself goals (however small) to give your life some purpose, but to base those goals on someone else is tantamount to setting yourself up for a fall. First of all, we’re all different and bring different experiences, skills and traits to the table. Secondly, people only tell you what they want you to know. That friend you’ve got with the ‘high-flying’ job in London, seemingly living the Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle might not be telling you that she’s constantly undermined by her boss and has to endure the smell of strangers’ armpits on the overcrowded tube each day.

The antidote? Set your own goals (as high as you like) but set them because you want to achieve them – not because you’re trying to keep up with Mr or Ms Jones. I’m all for pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone but at the same time, work with what you’ve got. Embrace what’s good about you, and what you’re good at. Life wouldn’t be any fun if we were all the same, but everyone (EVERYONE) has something to offer. Square pegs and round holes are things often mentioned here at MK – don’t force yourself into something that doesn’t suit because you’re trying to keep up with others.

Others might argue with me and say that comparison (under the guise of competition) is a good thing. Taking the example of a first time marathon runner, they might have a personal best that they want to beat – great. What wouldn’t be so great is if they set out with the aim of finishing ahead of Mo Farah. Setting. Self. Up. For. Fall. Extreme example maybe, but you see my point – work with what you’ve got.