My 3 year old daughter is in school. Most of her classmates are older than her. She keeps up great. But she reported to us recently, that many kids have called her small. And it makes her feel bad.
It’s easy to just chalk this up to kids being naive. “Hey kid, comparing your age to someone whose older or taller and feeling bad you aren’t as big as them is dumb.”
But adults are just as guilty.
In a study at Harvard, researchers asked participants if they’d rather have $50,000 in a society where everyone else made $25,000. Or $100,000 where everyone else made $200,000. The prices of all material goods were the same in both scenarios. More than half chose the world where they were only making $50,000. Even if they could have more money and wealth in absolute terms, many would rather just make more than their neighbors.
I get it. I look at my career as an entrepreneur and I’d love to be achieving more. I have many colleagues and friends who’ve accomplished quite a bit more so far. And it’s easy to come away from that analysis with emotions probably not that much unlike my daughter.
The best thing for me is to make sure I spend more time comparing myself to myself. Have I grown? Am I better than I was a few year ago? Did I accomplish the things younger me set out to do for myself?
That’s who I need to be bigger than.