When we were first born into this world, comparison starts. It starts with the little things, like our weight, length (or height) or even head circumference etc. These comparisons might not be with another person or baby per se, it could be against a chart, an average of some sorts, or a bell curve.
But basically, there is something to be compared against.
As the child grows older and enter pre-school, parents will start to compare how fast their kids learn, how adaptable their kids are in school, or even the more narcissistic aspects like their height or even looks!
And when we finally begin our formal education in primary schools (or elementary schooling), this is where the dreaded academic results comparison comes into our life. Love it or hate it, this will continue all the way until you graduate from high school, or perhaps even all the way to college! And just when we thought it would finally end, the comparison process continues to determine your level of honours, or perhaps if you would still proceed with the masters or even the PhD.
Comparison of results, especially academic results is so rife in this part of the world because of the fallacy that people subscribe to – Good education equates to better future or higher earning potential.
Theoretically this is not false entirely. But it is not entirely true either.
And the comparison again continues in the workplace, as salaries, job titles, prospects again becomes verticals for comparison. In the social aspects, perhaps comparison of the house you live in, the car you drive. The list goes on.
Since it seems like we have dedicated a lifetime of making comparisons, it would be great if we could reap some benefits out of it. For some, comparison is a motivating factor to propel oneself to do better. But for many others, it probably doesn’t make us happier. In fact, it probably causes us more misery and negativity.
What comparison make us:
1) We easily fall into the trap of comparing all the time that we lost focus on what is truly important in our life.
2) There are some instances of comparison you might feel inspired but 80% of the time you will feel dejected, jealous, unsatisfied and miserable.
3) We always compare ourselves with others on all different aspects that we fail to appreciate what we already have right now. This creates stress and discontentment.
4) Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Comparing what the society dictates you to be could make you lose track of what you are really good at in the false pursue of something else.
5) We are so caught up in this comparison race that we fail to appreciate the present and simpler things in life. When was the last time you had a mealtime with your love ones? Or even gone for a leisure walk with your family? We tend to forget the present in the pursue of a better future.
There is a Chinese saying call “知足常乐” which translates to “be content with what you have” . Ultimately, all those endless pursue for stuff and paper qualifications is what we think will bring joy to us. Contentment though, exists in the smallest things and activities.