I saw a Charlie Munger clip the other day…
(Munger is the billionaire business partner of Warren Buffett, and a brilliant man even outside of investing, a truly clear-thinker)
He said that the world isn’t run by greed, as many think, but envy. It’s not our desire to want more that propels us forward, but our desire to want more than our neighbor. Which makes ‘more’ a never-ending and useless quest… in that common context.
Someone will always have ‘more’, especially when ‘more’ is measured on someone else’s paradigm. You don’t know their history, what’s going on behind closed-doors, even how much they’ve sacrificed and worked, so to compare what you have to what anyone else on the planet has is silly…
…And yet we do it.
The only outcome is stress and unhappiness. There is no positive outcome to this comparison syndrome.
Munger also said that he got rid of that tendency decades ago, and yet he continues to thrive. As does everyone I know who’s rid themselves of this brain malfunction.
Likely because they’re calm, they’re free to make decisions based on the right information, and they’re not worried about failure or not winning ‘enough fast enough’ that they can play a long-term game.
Envy is crippling. It may push some to want more, even do more, but it’s wildly ineffective and unhealthy.
Whether we’re talking about money, health, family, relationships, anything… stay in your lane.
Live your best life.
I hate that statement… live your best life… it’s such a cheesy platitude, but it is a large part of why we’re here. Yet, when most hear that they automatically search for how someone else is living and compare their journey to them.
We’re here to shake hands with our potential.
Our potential in terms of virtue. Our potential in terms of the physical, our health and performance. Our potential in terms of goodness. Our potential in terms of the paths we choose for work.
Another problem, not often talked about, with the comparison game is the limitation it places on what you aim to achieve.
You’re simply trying to achieve or ‘get’ something that someone else has, but there’s no limitation to what you can pursue. You could be aiming higher than your neighbor, while having the calmness and the peace that comes from living a life free from the chains of comparison.
In short, watch your thoughts.
Learn to be happy for what others have and do as a default setting in your brain.
And your life will be better and ultimately more successful as a result.
Get after it.
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