President Theodore Roosevelt once stated that “comparison is the thief of joy.” Now I know that many other people have cited this quotation before in other blog posts, self-help learning guides, etc, but for whatever reason I had never come across it until a couple of weeks ago. And for the past couple of weeks it has really stuck in my head.
I have chronicled on this blog my journey to financial independence, paying off debt, etc. But I think the biggest thing for me throughout this whole blogging process has been trying to figure out when enough is enough. How much money do I need? How many publications will really make my happy? Where do I need to live? What is the real joy that I have in life? And in answering those questions I continually and did this before, constantly compare where I am to other people, places, etc. I have been stealing joy from my life. I have been the problem all along.
Now I think I intellectually knew that, but I have always made the excuse that it fuels me. For example, if I see someone who has done better professionally or what I perceive to be better professionally I will say to myself that I need to do x to get to that point. And typically, I will try to achieve it. But when I hit that goal it isn’t enough because there is something more where I have to climb the ladder.
And I will fully admit that not comparing myself to others and milestones is the BIGGEST hurdle I have in my life journey. I don’t know where there this constant self-comparison comes from, but I know that it can suck the joy out of my life.
So I guess what I have been thinking about doing (and this basically a stream of consciousness post) is to figure how I can get rid of this joy thief or at least mitigate it a bit. Because I don’t think I can just turn off the comparison thing in the back of my head. It will always be there. The key is not let it get me down or dictate where I am going. Because everyone’s life is different. Everyone comes at things differently. Now that doesn’t mean there aren’t best practices we can use and we should use. That doesn’t mean that rules can be developed for people to follow, but everyone has to adapt to those rules a little differently.
So maybe my first step is a bit of perspective. Maybe my first step is doing a blog post or two to review where I have come from. Maybe a blog post or two is to get back to doing some monthly challenge posts where I pick out one or two things that I personally want to do that gives me focus. That focus takes the focus off of other people.
Again, I think I needed to just write down these thoughts and put them out for the world. My constant comparison of my life to others has really been my biggest weakness ever since I can remember. I will think about stupid things I did 20 years ago and flagellate myself for it even when it wasn’t a big deal in the long-run, but maybe was for me. Comparison has been my joy thief and it is time to get the bastard out. I might not totally get rid of it completely, but acknowledging that my constant comparison is my joy thief is at least a step in the right direction.
It comes back to why I named the blog “Reaching Our Balance.” I should have named it Reaching For Balance and I would, but that would mean I would have to change a whole host of things. I have to get back to finding that balance in the first place. I think I have been too hung up on the paying off debt and financial independence side of things, which I still want, but losing site of what gives me balance. And part of that is getting rid of the joy thief, excommunicating from my body. A little bit of perspective goes a long way.
Sorry for the longish rant/post. I just needed to get this out a bit.
Until next time.