This is super true. I've been congratulating myself all month on my new job, paying me BIG BUCKS, compared to my friends. Well, just found out an old friend of mine also found a new job, getting payed literally twice as much as me. Now I'm in a funk and it's irrational and stupid but I can't help but look at the same number in a totally different way.
Making more money than me is great. Really. If making more money than me is important to you I KNOW I'm having more fun than you are. Somehow, somewhere in the last 5 years or so I've become content. I scratch-build model cars now in my spare time, and that's where I compete - with myself. Crazy fulfilling.
It's easy to be among the top in something in the little group that a kid in high school is exposed to. Even in a big district, there are enough things to be good at that you can be the best at something esoteric. Then you go to a good college for that thing, and come in thinking you're all that, and suddenly realize that you're average. But college exposes you to the fact that there are innumerable niches in that thing, and you can pick one and be among the best at that niche from your graduating class. You then go off to work, thinking you're hot stuff with your new top-of-the-line special credentials, and think you know more than everyone else in your field. Surprise: You don't. You meet someone who's been in the field for 30 years and can solve the special problems that you're uniquely good at in their sleep. And that guy has someone he calls when he can't figure something out.
It's sort of like looking for records in a baseball game: There are so many possible records to set and precedents to break, that there's something new for the announcers to go on about in most every game. There's a lot of room to be unique, special, and valuable.
You will almost certainly never be as good a composer as Mozart, as good a pianist as Horowitz, as good at dancing as any company you can see on TV or as good at singing as even a mediocre performer in a talent show. But you can learn from the best and always get better through hard work.
Being exposed to the idea that 'no, you're not the best and probably never will be, but the real reward is seeing yourself improve step by step through hard work' is invaluable.
I think Ip Man said that. Not sure.
Of course, owners are entitled to do whatever they please with their cars - but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing to see a GT3 RS, or any other track car, spend it’s life in start stop traffic in London.
On the other hand, when I was younger, seeing someone drastically less competent making more money didn't bother me. I thought it would catch up to them, and besides, I want in it just for the money.
Now, I know incompetence won't necessarily have consequences and that those other things don't mean anything, didn't happen, or whatever, and all I got out of the work was money.
Watching those people gets galling.
These days, I enjoy fiddling with knobs on a synthesizer for an hour or watching an old movie with a friend more than I ever did material things. Money can't buy being deep in a conversation where "So it's like Japanese vaporwave?" is a reasonable thing to say.
Oh I don't know. If I'm 50 and am making enough to retire at 65, and my friend retires at 52, I think it will still get to me.
So, among the things 75% of the people alive today might actually do, browsing Facebook might actually be the worst. Depending on your value system.
Facebook is waaaay down the list.
The number of possible Alcoholics don't add up to 75% of the global population. Sexual harassment while bad is not really a temptation for most people. Stealing, is again not things most people even consider.
EX: I may not be average, but I am not in a relationship so I can't exactly cheat. I don't like Alcohol so I am not going to become an Alcoholic. I could go on, but things are really not in my realm of possibility right now.
And how did you arrive at this number?
> The number of possible Alcoholics don't add up to 75% of the global population.
True, but the impact is still significant: alcoholism is among the top causes of death, at least in the US.
~25% to 60% of married people in the US cheet, but only 80% get married. Global data similar, but a significant number never get married which keeps things under 50%.
People who start posting excessive "Look at my life" posts tend to get unfollowed pretty quickly.
I find that this is something that sometimes sort of just happens to me, when I get aware of something I'm doing better now than, say, a year before.
But, I never really consciously decide to do that, because then I find it just doesn't work. Like the cliché of standing in front of a mirror and saying to yourself "today is gonna be a good day" (Has that ever worked for anybody? Where is this meme coming from?)
It's about making sure you take a moment to appreciate the good things you experience. It's about making an effort to not assume malice when there's a plausible positive or neutral explanation for someones behaviour. It's about the fact that if you smile at people and say good morning, they'll return the favour more often than if you frown and don't. It's about making peace with the things you can't change. It's about not dismissing this stuff as happy-clappy bullshit, but about giving you energy to address the things that actually matter, rather than just going around being angry at the world.
Weather is a good example: If you find yourself constantly annoyed at the weather and it's possible for you to do so, why not go to somewhere with a climate that might better suit you?
I guess my point is, I agree, it's not worth it getting constantly worked up over stuff, but also one shouldn't ignore one's feelings towards certain things for a prolonged time.
The former can have quite an effect on the latter though. To take it to one extreme, if you're never happy you're not going to be satisfied with life. But more realistically if these habits often help you feel happy when otherwise you would've been less happy, then that's going to have a positive impact on how satisfied you are with life.
So I'd say rather than simply saying nice things, one should be conscious of when one is thinking negative thoughts and then try to see where they come from and then what can be done about it. Being honest with yourself is a big part of that and I think that's what many people have a hard time with. And of course: If you're happy, also try to notice and cherish that. (If you look in the discussion I've had with another poster in this comment-thread, we've talked a bit about this too)
The converse of this is why stagnation feels bad long term (you don't tend to notice short term, that is just a break taking things easy for a while). Knowing you have not learned/done anything new in a long time can be depressing, and fuels many a mid-life crisis.
Check out: https://youtu.be/meiU6TxysCg
It takes a lot of effort to learn not to resent accomplishments of people you’re “competing” with even if they’re friends and you’re not directly competing with them. It’s a learned behavior to feel good for them instead.
There’s probably a selected reason for this, but it’s possible to overcome it (or at least be aware of its affect).
It’s better to frame life success on something else - like what you want to learn or the type of person you want to be.
Seems like I learned to feel good for other people‘s accomplishments, but I haven‘t unlearned comparing myself to them, and feeling good if I accomplish something they do not.
I feel much happier when people in my social circle are well off and living a great life.
I have also found that helping those around me succeed, whether financially, or personally, usually improves my own quality of life in someway (not always of course).
I also fully agree that one should only compare self to oneself.
After all we are all unique
IMHO happiness is truly achieved when shared :)
In my personal experience, I'd say this is a very unique quality to have. Not all friends and family members can be like this.
A tournament can be called competitive and a participant can be called competitive, but these don't mean quite the same thing.
Evolution is inherently competitive, but humans become competitive by evolution.
In short? No. Fitness is.
The distinction is between competition in the sense of individuals or groups competing, over things that are often irrelevant with respect to evolution, vs the fundamental principle that given a set of environmental constraints and a limited pool of resources, an entity that can repeatedly propagate more effectively than others will tend towards a greater relative abundance.
The fact that many extremely successful species are not individually competitive proves that evolution does not require all winners to be individually competitive.
It's not that we can't cope - human beings have amazing mechanisms to adapt to harsh situations - but rather so many problems are new enough that there is little prior societal understanding and defense for it.
When a problem is widespread enough to affect many members of society, the practices and solutions to that problem eventually enter the social vocabulary and become common knowledge. Social culture is filled with antibodies to past problems - college, seat belts, smoking, fitness - just to name a few things ingrained in society that passively guards our well being.
It's when new problems that affect entire generations emerge too quickly, there's not yet good common advice for how to deal.
The other day I've seen a trailer of a series on Netflix - Mars Generation, I think? I couldn't even finish it, because when I saw those kids doing the things I always wanted, it made me think about all similar realizations - that e.g. my university started doing things with rockets and satellites just after I graduated, that left and right I see cool spacetech opportunities offered to students only, etc. I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact I was just born few years too early. It's a stupid, irrational jealousy.
- Gore Vidal
Is it irrational and stupid? In a society at the limits of of its resources and stuck in a Malthusian trap, there is often zero-sum competition between members of the society.
Until the modern period and real technological growth, most humans lived in societies that were approaching local research constraints. Famine was common. If your neighbor had a bit more, it's likely because you had a bit less.
In that sort of a situation, learning that your peer makes twice as much as you thought is revealing quite a few things: e.g. you could have found a way to get paid much more and society is less equal or 'fair' than you thought.
Somehow only in the things he cares about. He has a car and a much better PC, still he envies my money.