Let me introduce Arjun, a happily married guy, has two beautiful kids and is settled in Delhi. He had always been meticulous and had planned out his entire life. He did very well in school and in engineering college, did an MBA and finally landed one of the best campus placements. One fine day, Arjun received an invitation to attend an alumni meet from the engineering college and was ecstatic at the thought of seeing old friends and catching up.
On the day of his reunion, it was all good until Arjun met Raj, who he had helped with several classes back in the day. Raj used to struggle in engineering school and didn’t even get an offer from any of the organizations that had come for placements. While talking, Arjun found out that Raj was doing much better than he was; he lived in a big bungalow and was earning twice as much. Arjun was upset by the thought that a guy who wasn’t that talented or good in studies was doing much better than he was. It really bothered him and this thought stayed. It made him question everything he had achieved and suddenly nothing in his life seemed enough. So in search of better opportunities and growth he changed places. He uprooted his entire family, changed his child’s school and moved to Mumbai because he wanted to do better than his “college friend”. From living in a house in Delhi, he shifted to a small apartment in Mumbai, he made more money than before, but it still wasn’t as much as Raj. Even after doing all this he didn’t feel happy or content.
Probably, the question he never asked himself was why was it even important to make more money than Raj? And was it all worth it?
While people do say that competition is important for growth, but who should we compete with? What’s more important to us, being better than ourselves or better than the next person?
Comparison is a very common practice in our culture that begins before we even know it, for instance it’s common to see parents compare kids in terms of development, academics, sports etc. It’s so deeply ingrained in us, that it needs constant effort to grow out of. And to be happy, our focus needs to be inward rather than outward.
When we compare ourselves with others, we will always find someone who is better than us in some way, in any way. No matter what position we’re at, no matter how blessed we are, we always end up looking at the other person who has something more than we do. So if we were to compare ourselves with others, where would the end be? In that case there can only be one perfect person in this entire world. But is that realistic or even true?
Why don’t we compare ourselves with who we were yesterday and everyday try to be the better versions of ourselves that we can be? Yes life is dynamic, ever changing, and yes we do need to grow but we can give meaning to the change in our lives by being grateful for what we have achieved. It’s very natural to feel jealous, after all, we covet the things we don’t possess. We do come across such situations in life when our friends achieve much more than we do. In such times, count your blessings first, then draw inspiration from those people around you and set realistic goals. Work toward them and you can achieve it.
Compete with yourself and seek inspiration from others, not envy. It’s the only sustainable way of being happy. So why don’t we stop focusing on who we are not and start focusing and improving on who we are as an individual.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember, what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus