“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house . . . your neighbor’s wife . . . nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17)

Here is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt (one of my favorite presidents), and the Bible. This is not just an internet search or some motivational guru. These are two heavy hitters…

And I think they are wrong- well, except for the neighbor’s wife part. That’s really messed up. Seek help if that’s you.

The rest of it though, I understand the intention of the statements, but I disagree with them.

You should compare yourself to others, especially truly successful ones. If I didn’t witness others out there crushing it everyday and earning the life they want to live, I know I would be less motivated to try.

When a leader picks up a flag on the battlefield and runs towards the enemy, people follow.

When you are running and see someone watching, or maybe another runner is gaining on you… do you speed up? Try to look like it’s not awful? I bet you do.

When you see your friend roll up in that new truck that you have always wanted, does that help motivate you to make it happen?

Shoot, I probably wouldn’t have the majority of things I own without “coveting” them from my friends and influencers.

This only becomes an issue for two reasons…

1. You are too undisciplined to do the work to make it happen for yourself.

2. You are comparing things that you cannot change, and are punishing yourself for it.

I compare myself to others all the time. Everyday. But each and every one of those people is out there dominating every aspect of their life. That is not a thief of joy. That is a source of inspiration.

If it’s not inspiring… you are comparing yourself to the wrong people that don’t align with your real goals and values.

I covet my “neighbors” goods (minus spouse- again, seek help if that’s you).

When I see that new house, fancy car, private jet, and high frequency lifestyle- you bet I covet that. I want nothing more than to have the ability to provide that life for myself and my family.

Do I want a Lamborghini? No not really, but I would love to know that I could get one if I wanted to.

So, to Mr. Roosevelt and the Bible, I respect what you are trying to convey, but I am going to compare and covet- because it motivates me to no end to try to be better than yesterday.

I want to see others succeed.

I want to soar with eagles.

But I need to compare, and want, to be with those eagles.

Comparison is not the thief of joy.

Comparison should be a catalyst.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: