The air was fresh and crisp. It smelt like Spring. Early daffodils were flashing their pretty white and yellow heads. Snowdrops were emerging, freshened by the wet and the cold. A murder of crows flew past, cawing in their crass voices, shouting, ‘Spring is here!’ Bruce, a young Hungarian Vizla was carrying a stick in his mouth. It was no ordinary stick. He had selected it from the many he sought before. It was the perfect fit across his mouth. It was about five feet long and three inches thick. The weight could be felt as it slowed him down but he was determined. Passer-bys had to dodge so their shins are left unmolested as Bruce proudly carries his trophy along the walking path. It was marvellous to watch.
Suddenly, Bruce stopped. He saw an older cream Labrador walking towards him about 50 yards away. That hound was also carrying a stick across his mouth, except his stick was six feet long and five inches thick, dwarfing his own. He turned to look at his guardian in wonder and indignance, thinking, “His is bigger than mine!” He seemed momentarily conflicted as the other dog walked closer. As they passed each other, he dropped his stick and emitted a sharp woof at the other dog, as though saying, “How dare you have a bigger stick!” The old Labrador cast a glance, ignored him, and carried on walking. Bruce stared after him for a few seconds before picking up his stick again and continued his walk.
Have you ever felt joy when you have achieved something and later disappointed because you felt someone else had it better? Perhaps it was an ice cream you had bought and you were enjoying it so much putting you in a great state only to see the person in front of you was given a larger scoop and felt cheated. Maybe you have worked really hard and finally achieved something that had eluded you for so long only to find that someone else has gotten it as well with less effort and work put in? Or perhaps you have worked hard for the promotion and pay raise and when you got it, you found out that someone else has been paid more and advanced further in their career? How do you feel when you tried your best and put in your soul in preparing a fabulous meal, only to find out that someone else’s food tastes better at a potluck? At some point in life, you may have looked at your own life and stared in envy at the lives of those around you, thinking, “Why is their life so good and mine not so much?”
Remember that you have your personal journey to experience. Where you are in life is exactly where you need to be and is according to your level of learning and understanding of yourself and life. Run your own race. Compete with yourself, not with others. Grow from each experience. As long as you are improving yourself from your past self, you are winning. It is too easy to compare your results with others and forget that you are actually victorious. Comparison is the thief of joy. Embrace wholeheartedly your personal journey and be grateful for every single improvement, no matter how small.
By all means, have great role models to look up to and be inspired by them. However, don’t forget to love and respect your own growth too. Why allow your personal self-created joy to be stolen when you compare to others? There is always a higher mountain. Remember that when you are growing, you are already at the peak (for now) and you will continue to climb higher in time to come.
Joe Heller was a multi-millionaire who was at a party with his friend, Kurt Vonnegut. The party was hosted at a billionaire’s house. Kurt said to Joe, “How does it make you feel that our host yesterday made more money than your best-selling novel ‘Catch-22’ has earned in its entire history?” Joe replied, “I’ve got something he can never have.” Kurt exclaimed in amazement, “What on earth can that be, Joe?” Joe looked at Kurt sagely and said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Understanding and appreciating your growth is just as important as the growth itself. Practice patience and embrace the Attitude of Gratitude. Someone’s ice-cream may be bigger, don’t forget you did not have an ice-cream to start with! Someone else’s results may be better, remember your results are more than what you had before. Your life is exactly where you need to be in accordance with the universe.
If you are enjoying your life physically, emotionally, financially, and soulfully, it is a reflection of your efforts and dedication. If you are not enjoying your life as you feel you should, know that you are rich and in abundance as well with lessons to learn and understood. Accept that you are never in lack but always in abundance. A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul. What your voice of fear claims is a mean season, the light of your wisdom knows it is a splendid gift. What you have right now is exactly what you were meant to have. By all means, achieve more if you want. Simply do not ruin the essence of your life by comparing it with others.
You were born perfectly suited and equipped to lead your own life and to achieve your own results, not others. Allow yourself to develop from within and know that every comparison to be made should be made internally asking, “Have I improved? Am I better than what I was before?” By doing so, you will ensure your personal growth, develop your personal pride and nurture your innate soul. Nobody can steal your joy but yourself. Why deny yourself the joy you have created or are experiencing?
Bruce has decided his stick is enough. Have you decided that you are enough? Because you are.
‘Comparison is the thief of Joy’ – Theodore Roosevelt