I have been wanting to write about this topic for a while but for some reason never made it through until now. Back in my childhood days, me and my brother used to tease each other, whenever we saw some kid with some achievement in sports, education or getting a medal on TV, we would be eager to find out the age of that kid. Once we know the age, we mentally compute if he is younger than each of us or older, if he is younger or same age as my brother then I would tell him “Look he is only 12 and achieved this honor, by the way how old are you?” The intent of the question was to mock and tease him that “this little kid achieved so much at this age and look at you…”. Yes, I was mean but then my brother too had the chance to reciprocate saying “What have you achieved so far?” and then both of us would laugh at it. But deep down there was some different kind of psychology at play and I guess more or less everyone of us goes through it.
As a human tendency, we are constantly comparing ourselves with our peers, colleagues and friends. If we find out that the other person has achieved great financial success or got a great job position or title, our minds immediately begin to look for the answer “How old is he?” . In trying to know the age, we are in some way trying to find a comfort zone for ourselves, if the person is older than me then atleast I have the solace that there is a parameter which does not match with mine and I have atleast 3 yrs, 4 yrs, 10 yrs before I should start comparing or looking for reasons as to why I am not like the other person who seems successful. And what do we do when we see a person younger than us who is successful or achieved something, atleast we applaud saying “vow! thats great” and somewhat feel remorse of our inability to achieve similar thing which is let out as “envy”.
I have been monitoring this pattern for a while and trying to stop my thought train as soon as smell it going in that direction of comparing by age. I think comparing by age is not the good way to look at it. First because scientifically AGE is a relative term and in the time-space continum everything is happening at the current “NOW” instance. Well this is something that I have read somewhere and reproduced here but I don’t fully understand or comprehend it 🙂 Sorry for the scientific tangent!
The main reason it is wrong to compare by AGE, is because everybody is different and everybody’s wants are different. Most of the time our wants are influenced byÂ what we see, hear and experience. If a person “X” has achieved so much financial success at a young age and if a person “Y” who is of the same age or older has not been as successful then there are obvious reasons for that. First person “X” has different set of priorities than “Y” and “X” has put up lot of hard and smart work to make for the short period. “X” had created perfect enviornment to match his priorities and goals. So there is no reason for “Y” to compare against “X” and feel negative about it. Instead “Y” should maintain his focus on what is important to him, his priorities and goals and rather than feeling negative, should try to get motivation if he has similar goals.
For e.g. Recently a school kid in UK had earned 1 million dollars by a simple but genius idea. Should I be comparing and saying “Oh I am 30 but no where close to million!” ?Â I don’t think its the right way to look at, the school kid had different kind of circumstances (student loans), different opportunities and the desire to find a solution for his current situation. Where as when I was 21, I had absolutely no desire or need to earn money as my parents were paying for me. So my goals and destinations are different but certainly I should derive motivation from that school kid. I guess its a tough tendency to break but sometimes it is required for self check analysis. For e.g as a parent, if you don’t compare your baby’s progress, “She is not yet crawling!”, “That kid started at month 4”, “Mine started walking at 10” and so on the end less comparisons. Some of these comparisons are useful checkpoints as they have become the standard benchmarks but often these comparisons are carried forwarded through the end of life!
Well, this is just my observation, what is yours?