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How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others



❝We may not be able to stop measuring ourselves against others, but we can decide which yardstick we use to measure.❞ -Mark Manson

I'm sitting down playing The Eagles' Hotel California on my ukulele. At least, I'm trying to play it. I'm not a very good musician, but it's fun to try. Playing rhythm ukulele is fun, but I don't have any melody to along with it. Singing would be the obvious way to get some melody, but unfortunately, I can't sing.

I realize that the ukulele is sometimes thought of as a toy instrument or children's instrument. Wouldn't it be fun, I think, if I combined toy instruments and learned how to play them really well. I think maybe the kazoo makes sense. If I can learn to play the ukulele and the kazoo at the same time, that would be funny to see, especially if I could surprise people by doing it well.

That sounds like a pretty fun little niche to pursue. After all, how many people play the ukulele and kazoo at the same time? But then I happened across this video on YouTube by somebody who goes by the Kazoo Guru.


All of a sudden, I realize I'm never going to be that good. Seeing him perform Creep with an ukulele and a kazoo shatters my confidence. I wonder if it's even worth trying.


I snapped out of it quickly, realizing that this is somebody I can learn from. But, the gut reaction of feeling bad because of an unfair comparison is real and common.

MONEY AS A PROXY FOR HAPPINESS


It's hard to look at somebody and know if they're happy, satisfied with their life, have good relationships, or live a meaningful life. Humans are ultrasocial creatures, and it's hardwired into us to compare ourselves to others. Since we find it difficult to compare how happy we are to how happy somebody else is, we take an easier route. We use money as a proxy for happiness and life satisfaction.


Our parents have done it, their parents did it, and so now