The Thief of Joy

Sep 3, 2022

”Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt

What Theodore Roosevelt put so elegantly is a fundamental lesson for life. Comparison is the thief of joy. You can enjoy the greatest pleasures of life, however, the moment you start to compare with others is the moment you sacrifice your own joy. Why? Because everything we observe and do is relative.

This inner desire to compare ourselves with the people around us is something everyone experiences to some degree. It’s human. This is the way we used (and still partially do) to make sense of the noisy world around us. And that’s okay. To a healthy degree.

It’s okay to look up to others, get inspired, learn something, and get an orientation of how you are doing. However, it is not okay to use this as your metric for happiness or success. The comparison to others is meaningless. The only real comparison that matters is to the version of yourself yesterday. Don’t compare yourself to others, but to who you were yesterday. That’s the only thing that matters.

Hand in hand with this goes the hard realization that this relentless mindset of comparison acts as the thief of joy. If you constantly try to see how you’re matching up to others, you will never fully enjoy the moment you are in. And this is a recipe for a miserable life. Listen to Roosevelt. Don’t let your desire for comparison steal the joy you’re fortunate enough to enjoy.‍