Never compare yourself to others. Do this instead.

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One of the most important lessons I learned reading Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational a few years back that really stuck with me was that, given enough time, humans have the amazing ability to come to terms with the severest of circumstances. Dan Ariely himself is a major burn victim, suffering burns to the majority of his body, and yet he still finds a way to live life and strive hard for better.

You never ever should compare yourself to others. You have no idea what kind of struggle they are going through, yet I think it’s common to either say, think, or even hear, ‘you could always be worse off’.

‘You could always be worse off’ is comparison by stealth. ‘You could always be worse off’ is almost always true, the only time it wouldn’t be would be when you are dead.

Don’t take ‘you could always be worse off’, as a comparison of circumstances. See the struggles that the people worse off than you are going through, see them getting through it, and see what humans are capable of coming to terms with.

Of course at times we have struggles that seem overwhelming when compared to others, or even when compared to previous versions of ourselves, but we are part of a remarkable race that has the ability to come to terms with anything life throws at us. We just need to take stock of this, and be reminded of it every once in a while.

(Do not take this as an opportunity to not help those who are worse off than you if you can. All human beings deserve to be treated with decency.)

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