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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Constantly comparing yourself to others is no way to live

Haters, doubters, whatever you want to call them. There are many people, especially in our generation, who just can’t stand to see others succeed.

This is evident on many different levels, and it is frustrating.

People who put themselves in an uncertain or risky environment in order to accomplish their passions are constantly put down and scoffed at for “trying.”


Trying is hard. It takes guts. My natural human instinct is to not try; to give the minimum amount of effort it takes to avoid creating a disastrous life that my parents would be ashamed of.

I would venture to say most other people’s natural desire is to do the same.

So why do we have such a blast watching people fail?

Each time a celebrity we dislike screws up, or maybe when an athlete from a rival sports team is busted for drugs, we have a quiet inside voice that says, “yay!”

Even if we don’t outwardly say so, the majority of people have this feeling.

What is wrong with us?

I can’t act like I don’t do this exact thing. I recognize that this is an ugly, little aspect of my emotional makeup, and maybe I’m completely off-base in thinking others think like me.

I doubt that, though.

There is something just so soothing to us about seeing someone fail, someone we can compare ourselves to and say, “Hey, at least I didn’t stutter through my whole presentation in class. At least I’m not that person.”

We live in a constant state of comparison. Subconsciously, we compare ourselves to every person we set our eyes on.

At the gym it’s, “I’m more ripped than that dude,” or “Dang, that guy is way stronger than me.”

Even the great Mark Twain conceded that “comparison is the death of joy.”

Why? Can’t we be happy with who we are individually, celebrate our differences and just, overall, be cool with each other?

“Nope,” says human nature.

We grew up in intense one-up contests known as junior high and high school. Haters were plentiful; it was a hard thing to try, to be determined or to put ourselves out in any position where failure was a potential result.

College is definitely not that bad, but still, there are underlying remnants of a high-school mentality that affects all people, no matter what age.

It’s sad, really. A lot of people are hell-bent on solving the plethora of the world’s problems, but struggle with a simple concept: Be kind. To everyone.

I really believe if the majority of humans stopped living in comparison and were just nice, it would have a larger effect than any policy change enacted by our new president in 2016.

We all come from different backgrounds and are better or worse than others in every aspect of life.

But not everything is a competition, and we don’t have to hate on each other to elevate ourselves.

The culture of judging and haters makes it that much more difficult for people to go after something risky. But what if that culture changed?

Would people feel more apt to try different things and to be successful in ways that they thought were impossible? I think so.

So be kind to others, and let the change start with us.

Follow Scott Baca on Twitter.

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