How successful are you? How successful do you feel? This is an interesting infographic created by Jim. F. Kukral. There are many reasons why we might not be as successful as we want. What’s your reason? What’s…
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt
It is a smart idea to compare between two or more products before purchasing. Today with so much information available we can easily find ready customized comparisons that help us with our purchase related decisions. Yes I am saying comparison is good but only for material things.
When we start comparing ourselves and our loved ones with others then we open the whole new painful world of misery. I strongly believe comparison steals our happiness. In the first post of this series “7 Mind Traps That Steal Our Happiness – Trap 1. What Other People Think About Me?” We took an example of a mother (Scenario 2) who mistreats her son because “what others think” was very important to her. This adversely affects her relationship with her son for lifetime and she probably never figured out why she has a bad relationship with her child.
Now let’s say this son grew up into a nice young man. He does not tell his mom anything that she may not like and always shows her the rosy picture to avoid any drama. He is good with hiding his troubles as he has practiced it his whole life. The mother is very much concerned about what other think about her and her family and hence constantly keeps looking for praise worthy stories about her family to tell her friends. The burden of these stories part fact part fiction falls on the entire family as they have to act out as per the story and remember every detail so that they do not unveil the truth.
“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” — Marcus Aurelius
Comparison mindset is very similar to “what others think” mindset. In comparison a person constantly compares his life with others or with someone specific. His or hers life’s parameters become limited to the people who are around hence that person never becomes any better than the company he keeps.
This mindset takes a deep toll on all the people emotionally close to him/ her. Everybody in the family is compared with family members of the others. Every property, asset, electronic equipments, furniture, garden, cloths and everything visible to eye is compared with the others and the others have always got it better. Even the family pet is not spared in the disturbing mind game of comparison.
Below are 4 major adverse affects of a comparison mindset:
1. Constant Stress and Unhappiness:
This person is always unhappy because he is always under some or the other peer pressure.
2. Always in Some Kind of Race:
This person feels that he needs to stay ahead of people around him or some one particular to feel superior and hence always tries to compete with others.
The comparison mindset person envies others success and happiness as if others got something better than that means he/ she is falling behind and feels inferior.
4. Goals are Limited to Surroundings:
I know a child who always came first in his class for some reasons he had to switch schools. The first thing his father did after he settled in school was to find out who came first in that class. It was a girl; she always came first in the class and was a model student. She was great in studies and extra curriculum activities. The father proudly told me all about her then said he had an intense talk with his child. He told his kid do whatever you have to do, I’ll get you whatever you need but just make sure you score more than that girl and become the new number one student.
Did I mention this child was in 6th grade? How crazy was that father’s talk? I felt as if he was not raising a child but training a horse for some race. He limited his child’s potentials to the girl’s achievements. His child could be better than that and why compare with one what if some other kid suddenly falls in love with studies and becomes the new number one student will the kid’s priority change to doing better than this new kid now?
What kind of stress are we putting on school kids? There are millions of schools in the world and millions of number one students. How crazy can you go trying to outsmart all these number one students? Why cannot we teach kids to become thinkers and to achieve excellence in the field of his/ her interest? The only comparison we need to do is with our selves, try to break our own records and try to achieve our own goals and dreams.
Your child’s goal may be bigger than anyone in the world. He/ She may be destined to become something greater than anyone in history so why to limit the genius in your child by comparing with the people around you. The creator has made us unique for a reason. The most we can do is become the best possible version of ourselves. Comparison is for non living things that cannot think or dream if you can then please stop comparing with others and start living.
Is happiness difficult to find or we keep losing it bit by bit because of our mindset. In my search to save happiness from leaking away; I found 7 major mind traps that can actually steal our happiness. To discuss each in details I think it will be a good idea to talk about one or two at a time.
Trap 1. What Other People Think About Me?
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” — Laozi
A child comes crying home from school. He runs in his mother’s arms and cries for a while. The mother tries to calm him down and asks him what the matter was. Wiping his tears he tells her that everyone in school taunts him and teases him. They all call him stupid and ugly. They make fun of him for being slow in school work.
Scenario 1: The mother consoles him that he is smart and beautiful. He should not care about his classmate’s remarks and he should completely ignore them. She promises herself to help him study harder so that he can do well in school. She understands his pain and tries to help him overcome the challenge in his early age.
Scenario 2: The mother first gets angry about situation. Then she remembers that the neighborhood children go to the same school so they might tell their parents about this. What will the neighbors think about my son? They will blame me for his failure in school. I will be labeled as a bad mother. How will I face my neighbors now? In her fit of anger she yells at the child to go study and tells him that he will not be allowed to play or watch TV till his grades get better.
One situation handled in two different ways. Will the result be different? Of course it will be. Which scenario will help the kid overcome his problem? My guess is the first scenario. The mother makes the kid comfortable gives him the most important lesson of life to not let others opinion affect him and then tries to help him solve the problem.
This kind of response will give the child confidence that he can come to his mother with any problem and she will listen, understand and suggest him what he can do. He will always share everything about his life with his mother and their relationship will become stronger.
In the second case the child will get terrified by the thought of telling his mother any of his troubles. He was already low and she made him feel worse she even punished him. He will stop sharing everything with his mother. He will only tell her what she wants to hear so he can avoid any unpleasant reaction from his mother. He will keep secrets from his mother and will find some other person who will listen about his troubles and help him overcome them. This other person can be his father, a sibling, a relative, a friend, a teacher or any other person this child finds easy to connect with as his connection with his mother will become weaker.
“The unhappiest people in this world, are those who care the most about what other people think.” — C. JoyBell C.
These scenarios were my attempt to highlight how dangerous it can be to think about others people’s onions. Why do we give others especially people who talk behind our backs so much control of our life? How does it matter what others think about us? People make such stupid mistakes trying to impress others that they completely lose focus from things that our actually important.
People will always talk and gossip about you and everyone else. No matter what you do, they will always find a way to talk about you behind your back. The day we set our mind to ignore what other people think about will be the day we will experience true freedom. Give it a try. Do something without a single thought of others opinion. Once you taste this freedom I am sure you will never ever care about what others think about you.
Dr. Wayne Dyer gives a beautiful explanation about the fear of others opinion. He says there are two things we need to think about character and reputation. One person can have many reputations as reputation is nothing but opinion of others so if 100 people know that person he will have 100 reputations as everybody will look at him in a unique way. So it really does not matter who thinks what about you as those opinions will constantly keep changing and updating.
“Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?” — Brigham Young
Character is far more important. It is what we think about ourselves. Character builds our reality. It controls our subconscious mind that controls our every action. The only opinion that matters is our own. Plus it is far easier to work on one character then hundreds of reputations. Strong character will build an amazing life.