It just happened in passing and I really thought I didn’t do this much. If you pay attention though. I’m quite sure I (you) do it multiple times a day. I was scrolling along the old internet of things and saw someone had shared some music of someone who played a lot in the late 90s. In a blink I compared myself to them at that time and wondered why or maybe rather “if “ I was “as good” as them.
I feel like I’m decently grounded when it comes to seeing the lives we depict on social media. Of course we are going to share mostly highlights and I know that’s not the reality of the world. I also don’t get to bent out of shape about it. I mean if depicting and sharing represents more of a life that people aspire to than the way it is, at least they are looking up. I also know this is a little naive.
My initial realization made me consider how fallible we are. Can there be any less of an apples to oranges comparison than comparing your life against someone else’s. The impossibility of finding equal footing, even across the things we may have in common is mind blowing. There’s too many parameters to even consider. But there I was, at 4:27 a.m. doing just that.
It made me wonder if that’s how I’ve been doing it all along. In everything. I’d say yes but then i thought about seersucker suits and speedos. For whatever reason, a seersucker suit makes me look at you like your an uptight douche, just as me wearing a speedo illicitly the same reaction in seersucker suit guy. We’ve both decided that the others choice of attire is ridiculous. I won’t argue that a speedo isn’t, but I also have been wearing one since I was 4, so my familiarity and acceptance is no different than yours with seersucker. I also know that not all seersucker wearers are douchey. It’s just not my thing. So in this instance, yes,I compared myself to another but didn’t rate myself against it negatively.
In most instances though, I think we do. We think “so and so” has it all together, what with their fancy cars and gleaming white smiles. We think/wish we had it like “so and so”. Most times, being “so and so” is likely just like your hardest days. They hate themselves just like you do. They have a “so and so” they compare themselves to as well. They may not notice it like I did this morning, but they do.
I don’t know what the yardstick should be other than comparing yourself to your yesterday self. I listened to a book about “flow state” the other day and it talked about how elite athletes and performers achieved their so called greatness. No one got 22% better than the next guy in one jump. At best the increase was 4% over the previous day, and the next, and the next. Of course some days were less or steps back, but incremental growth, with a net positive over time.
So you can compare yourself to a guy in a suit you’d never wear or you can slap on a speedo and shoot for being 4% better than yesterday. Maybe you’ll only hit 1% today and maybe you won’t see this reminder until tonight and you’ll have to try again tomorrow.