Our world loves to compare and compete and measure success based on the accomplishments of others.
We compare the clothes we wear, the neighborhood we live in, the car we drive, even the handbag we carry. We compare our job titles, our salary, our savings account, even our retirement age.
One reason is because comparisons by their very nature are unfair. We know ourselves better than we know others. As a result, we compare the worst we know of ourselves to the best we assume in others.
But there’s another reason these comparisons result in lower life satisfaction: the trinkets we are competing for don’t bring fulfillment. Job titles, square footage, and brand names on handbags are not the things that matter in life.
Consider again the things that do: to be a faithful spouse, a loving parent, an example to others, a contributing member of society, or to have lived a life of significance and meaning. These are the most noble pursuits—these are the desires that actually matter.
This is important to recognize.
Equally important, please notice that with each of these pursuits, your competition is not against others. In life’s most important pursuits, your only competition is yourself.
To be a faithful spouse, we war against the selfish desires that undermine a relationship built on trust and selfless motivation.
To be a loving parent, we war against any and every harmful tendency or action that would not seek to build up our children.
To be a positive example to others, we pursue character and integrity in both public and private.
To be the best version of ourselves, we remove foolish distractions and temptations that rob us of time and energy and focus. We become self-aware and self-equipped to recognize the unhealthy motivations within ourselves. And we make the difficult sacrifices necessary to bring about a better world for others.
The crusade is not against others—the skirmish is within our own heart, our own mind, and our soul.
This is the competition that matters: Are we fighting for the things that matter? Are we becoming better people than we were yesterday?
And if so, why would we concern our minds with the temporal success of others when we have so much growth left to accomplish in ourselves?