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The Art of Comparing
Nobody in this world is ever content.
People may tell you other wise, but in actuality, everybody wants to be someone they’re not.
It’s just human nature.
And really, who can blame them?
From the time we are 5 years old, maybe even younger, we learn to compare ourselves to other people. In kindergarten, our teachers hand back our homework sheets, with big, red, glowering X’s on the ones marked wrong and the telltale sign of a question marked right with a check mark or a smiley face. You count your checks to the best of your ability and then, just because you want to see how the little girl next to you did; you sneak a peek at her paper. And it doesn’t escape your attention that she got one more right than you did.
And if things couldn’t get any worse, that mean aid in the classroom that no one likes holds up little Jimmy’s paper, showing everyone that he got a 100%. And why can’t you be more like Jimmy? He’s obviously the only one that paid attention.
And thus, you have been compared to someone else for the first time.
From that moment on, we strive to better than everyone else. We want to be the Jimmy’s of the classroom; having our assignments held up in praise, the teachers asking your fellow classmates why can’t they be more like you. It’s an ego thing really, wanting to be the best. The sense of accomplishment it gives us, the feeling of award and success.
And its not just small, classroom comparisons.
As we get older, it gets worse.
Our parents compare us to the girl who sits next to you in math, who gets A’s on every exam, studies twice as hard and is captain of ‘this and that’ team.
Our coaches compare us to the starting athlete, who is top in the nation and won all state champ.
Our friends compare us to the other kids, who are better looking, smarter, and get the girl/guy you want.
And the sad truth is, yes, someone will always be better than you, no matter how good you are, but really, you already know that. Why do we need other people telling us and comparing us to them?
These comparisons from the time we are little drive us insane. They make you want to better so badly that it makes you sick. A smart kid wants to be an honors student, an honors student wants to be a prodigy, a prodigy wants to be a genius and so on.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s comparing yourself to the smarter kid that gets in the way.
If we keep comparing ourselves to the person whose just a little bit better, it will force us to take out eyes off the prize. Because really, we don’t know what will happen in the end. Maybe the kid who gets all straight A’s in High School will burn out in college and become a druggie. Maybe the star Athlete on your little league baseball team will end up choosing basketball. And maybe, just maybe, by the time your in college or making your way up the ladder of success, you’ll be the one people are comparing themselves to.
No one can predict the future. No one can ever tell what will end up happening. So these petty comparisons? They’re a waste of time, a child’s game. Nothing is set in stone; the future is up to you, and not the person you’re being compared to. At the end of the day, we’re all individuals and being unique is better than being the same. So, why compare it?