What do Kurt Cobain, Oprah, Theodore Roosevelt, Dr Seuss and Bruce Williams have in common? #15 Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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#15 Comparison is the Thief of Joy (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

We all remember the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’ with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal.  In particular the infamous scene where they are in a coffee shop and Sally (Meg Ryan) proves to Harry (Billy Crystal) that women can fake orgasms and men would not be able to tell the difference.  The scene unfolds where Sally demonstrates this in full view of everyone in the coffee shop.  Of course she is so very convincing that when she is done and Harry is sitting there in stunned silence (you can click here if you haven’t seen it), a lady at another table tells the waitress “I’ll have what she’s having”! It’s very funny and it makes this Life Lesson that much easier to explain.

You see, Sally didn’t really have an orgasm, it just looked like she did (and well, yes, it sounded like it too)!  So much so that the other woman compared her own seemingly boring ‘sex life’ to Sally’s.  Now how often have you ‘wanted what she’s having’? And no I don’t mean an orgasm… well, ok, it could be an orgasm but let’s just treat the word ‘orgasm’ as a metaphor in this instance!

I can recall many, many times in my life ‘wanting what she’s having’;

To run as fast as her…

To be as organised as her…

To be as strong as her…

To have as much money as her…

To have her body…

To be as pretty as her…

To be as smart as her…

To have her career…

To have her relationship (not partner)…

To have her patience…

To have her life…

This list could go on…

And while none of these have ever ground me down, effected my self-esteem or stopped me being driven and determined and going after my own life, I would be lying if I wrote this blog and didn’t admit that all of these have popped into my head at one time or another during my life. And making peace with these thoughts is why I am now able to share these life lessons with you.

There are several quotes that I remind myself of when my human thoughts appear;

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are” ~ Thanks Kurt Cobain.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”  ~ Thanks Oprah.

And of course…

Comparison is the thief of Joy” ~ Thanks Theodore Roosevelt and thank you also to my friend Bruce Williams who I first heard say this.

Wanting to be someone else, be somewhere else, be something else, other than who you already are is simply robbing yourself of the opportunity to be present to the amazing person and contribution you are to the world right now. And it also robs the people you love of being able to be present to YOU, in the right here and right now.

Now, can we do better or be better versions of ourselves? Of course we can!  But in order to do this, we need to strive to achieve this based on who WE are and not who some else is.

When I coach and mentor people I get them to imagine this scenario.  Picture every person in the world in a long line. Are there people ahead of you? Yes. Are there people behind you? Yes.  Now what if you swapped places with someone. Are there still be people ahead of you and behind you? YES! And in life, this will always be the case.  While we are busy wanting to be someone or somewhere else in the great line of life, there are also people wanting to be where WE are!

Fitness training and events are great examples of this too.  Imagine being in a running race with ten thousand other people.  There will be people faster than you and there will be people slower than you. Agreed? So the people faster than you, slower than you and you yourself, are you giving it your all?  I would say the answer to that is YES! Now I can hear some of your minds whirring away thinking, but what if I came last? I am at the end of the line? Yes, if that’s the way you want to think about it.  But you could also consider that there are millions of people not even able to make it to the start line of that race.  What about if you were first? Well, it’s the same thing. There are 7+ billion people in this world so this race represents a tiny, tiny percentage of people who can run.

This Life Lesson is not about striving to do and be better, I am all for that! It is however, a Life Lesson in how to be PRESENT to where you are right now, acknowledging the awesomeness of that, making friends with who that person is AND being peaceful in the knowledge that you are exactly where you are, right now! Not compared to anyone or anything else!

The thing I know for sure is this.  The only person you can work on being better than right now, in this moment, is YOU. Right Dr Seuss!

Jen x

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