What do you desire? Do you have unmet aspirations? Do you view time as your most valuable resource? These three questions and a few others greet you when you first land on the Chalten website. Of course the answers to “What do you desire?” are as varied as there are people but where people seek their answers can be a key determinant of happiness. Sometimes people look around them for inspiration. I want to be like them. I want to have a house like that family. I want to go on vacations where they go. Comparing your situation to that of your neighbours or your friends is unlikely to lead to happiness. Mark Twain once said that “Comparison is the death of joy.” Here are some of the reasons why:
- Other people aren’t you – just because someone else has chosen a certain path, it doesn’t mean that path will be right for you. It may not make you happy and in fact, it may not even make them happy.
- You don’t know how other people finance their lifestyle. You’d be equally surprised both by how many invisibly wealthy people there are and by how many invisibly indebted people there are.
- Comparison is a never-ending game, a race with no finish line and no winners
- You can waste a lot of time and energy comparing yourself to others – time is too valuable to waste on such destructive past times.
- Comparing yourself to others can lead to resentment and jealousy.
- Comparison isn’t fair – people have different backgrounds, different opportunities, different luck and different outcomes, many of which can’t be controlled.
What might we do instead?
- Focus on what you can control and don’t worry about what you can’t.
- By all means make a plan but live in the moment. Don’t resent the past or lose yourself in a dream of the future that might not be attainable.
- Value experience and time with people over stuff. Don’t rely on stuff to make you happy. (Getting rid of stuff can be liberating:).
- Recognize that time is always the most valuable commodity. Time is like money only in that it’s present value is higher than it’s future value. Enjoy time now!
Just some thoughts. Different goals make different people happy. Perhaps above all, remember that it is within your power to choose to be happy with your situation and your goals. Happiness lies within.