“If the grass looks greener on the other side… Stop staring. Stop comparing. Stop complaining. Start watering the grass you’re standing on.”
This seems to be a harder practice than ever in today’s social media driven world. Comparison is the standard of the day when everything we see online is someone else’s “best self” and not a picture of true reality. The real challenge comes when we carry this “comparison bias” into our daily lives. It doesn’t just happen when we are on Facebook or Instagram, that mindset carries forward into the rest of our daily life experiences.
This bias happens subconsciously and shifts our thinking from “what am I doing to grow and improve where I am” into “why don’t I have what XYZ person has?” Even with all the social media influence in our world today comparing what we have to others isn’t a new phenomenon. Teddy Roosevelt coined the phrase that “comparison is the thief of joy” and Mark Twain wrote “comparison is the death of joy.” So how do we break free from this great sucking vortex that pulls us down and away from what really matters?
Stop looking… Start by minimizing those external comparisons that trigger the comparisons. Instead of turning outward, turn inwards. Personally I have found that the single best mechanism to ward off comparison bias in my own life is the practice of writing a daily gratitude journal. Writing down every day the things that I am thankful for serves as an amazing reminder that my life is incredibly rich and extremely blessed. That becomes the fuel that helps me to see where I need to roll up my sleeves and go to work to fully leverage those gifts and blessings instead of just complaining about what has happened to me. It changes how you think about things that happen in life. Instead of happening to you, they happen for you.
Comparison is death. Gratitude is joy. Which one do you want to use to fill your gas tank of life?