The German poet Rilke wrote “You must change your life.” - the silent, thunderous theme of any lecture given by a parent, loved one or authority figure. The drone that beats us all down in the background, as we explore our own mortality, weakness and financial frailty.
No other species has an inferiority complex. Imperfection is a uniquely human condition. Our own self-awareness pits our own qualities against each other’s qualities, or against the elemental forces that strive to drive us down. Our qualities transform into sources of inferiority - pillars of inferiority and doubt.
Comparison is the thief of joy, and yet comparison is central to the human condition. Comparison is a close cousin of Self-awareness.
Can we ever grow wiser without understanding ourselves?
Our intrinsic desire for self-improvement should drive our growth. Rush forward present self and set the stage for future self to evolve. But to rush where? Grow how?
Evolve to what?
Excitement points indistinctly to better, future versions of ourselves. This foggy vision crushes our future plans. We focus on the goals, kpis and targets of our future selves. Instead of inspiring us, these goals just help comparison to steal our joy.
Instead, let us harness the joythief by comparing ourselves today to ourselves yesterday. Focus our minds on purposeful actions to improve our current self from our past selves. Demonstrate our own agency.
Control our own destiny.
Cultivate our own, joyful growth by just comparing ourselves to ourselves.