On Comparison

While on exchange, I’ve noticed many people commenting about how certain things are better than others and failed to appreciate the better aspects. Thus, my topic on comparison.


Which mountain is more beautiful?

For example, in the two pictures above, two individuals can have different opinions on which mountain is more beautiful. BUT, what is the point of comparing two mountains and saying one is more beautiful than the other? Why not just appreciate the beauty of both? Should we reject the other mountain just because it isn’t “as beautiful” as the other?

There’s no end.

Comparison goes both horizontally and vertically. Horizontally as in there is a wide range of things you can compare, what genre of music is better (guilty as charged), which musician is better, which scenery is more beautiful, which fruit taste better…And then you go deeper…This musician is better because he is faster. No, that musician is better because his compositions are better…It goes on and on and on and on…Is there any end to comparison?

Comparison never stops. Why waste so much time comparing which is better and grumbling about how it is worse than the other? Just take a moment and appreciate what is in front of you. Instead of comparing how one is better than another, appreciate them both and hold your preferences to yourself. Why let it be a source of unhappiness?

“Comparison is the death of joy” – Mark Twain

“Why did John do better than you?”

“Why can’t you be just like him?”

“How I wish I’m as good as John…”

I’m sure most of us have been through this before. Whether it be from peers, parents, or our own selves, we cannot stop comparing and deriding ourselves. But why do we even bother? Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses. And only you will be good at being yourself. If you find a flaw, “do not compare yourself to others. Be true to who you are, and continue to learn with all your might.” (Daiseku Ikeda)

Instead of feeling down and bad that you cannot be compared to others, draw inspiration from others. Learn from them and do not feel inferior just because you are not there yet. I’m sure they put in the effort and time to get to where they are today too.

Warren Buffett puts it nicely. In investment, there will always be someone making more money than you and do not let that be a source of greed or unhappiness. (I can’t find the exact quote but it’s along this lines.)

“Everything is relative.” 

Some argue that we need comparison to ‘acknowledge’ the difference between subjects. And thus the absolute statement of “everything is relative”. Which is a paradox. Sometimes, we do need to compare. Maybe you are on a budget and you have to look at different air fares. That’s fine. These are absolutes comparisons. But there will be trade-offs. Look for what you PREFER and stop there. If not, there’s no end to comparing.

However, other things are relative. Which chocolate tastes better, who is more beautiful…yada yada…These comparisons are just a waste of time and energy. Just appreciate it (if it can be appreciated) and enjoy the moment.

But, how do I stop comparing?

I am still learning this too, since I only came to this conclusion during my travels.

So, here’s a helpful guide from becomingminimalist that I found. You can easily find more by Googling “why do we compare”.

I wish you well on your journey to end comparison. Do leave your insights in the comments section too!



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