This is something we are fighting everyday in this slump-laden competitive world, which is running at a mad pace since the recession bells rang last year.
I was venturing into thoughts on what is provoked or evoked when you are in comparison, and if it has done anyone any good.
It was perhaps the comparison with my neighbour's kid who always topped the class while I managed to crawl past the red line that pushed me to fare better in academics. Comparisons are the perfect old-school method to help you get that push to forge ahead. But we need to snap out of this habit as we are living in a society which is swelling in numbers with victims of comparison.
Comparison is a crime - especially with minds vulnerable of being demoralised.
A friend who resigned her high-profile job last year is now finding it difficult to find an appropriate break. Her dad asked her why she can't find a job when so many people are managing to get one. He was almost blaming the recession on her. She feels doomed as this actually came when the father figure was expected to stand strong by her side than point a finger.
The most miserable comparison I have heard recently was when a cousin called after a heart-breaking interview. The HR manager asked him rudely why he wanted a higher pay, especially when the market was full of unemployed wannabes. How do you tackle a comparison like this, especially at an interview? I could only console him saying that it is good that he did not get into the company that could ruin his self-esteem.
A college student asked for a mobile phone and his parents snapped back saying they never got one at that age. A mobile is not a big deal today, but everyone is downsizing, even families that are well-off are looking at cheaper alternatives to meet expenses. So it was very convenient for them to excuse themselves citing old days. This comparison is less troublesome than the HR manager's response because the perpetrators happen to be his family who is looking after him.
Another friend has a weird problem born out of comparison. His wife compares his salary with others’. He is a sales executive fighting a dull market where no one wants to spend. His boss passes down the higher management’s bashes on non-performance saying - if other companies are still making profit, how come we are not? There is nothing more you can do other than nod in understanding when we hear such painful accusations.
If you keep the recession aside and look at the ads that you have been seeing all the while, you will find that the world actually runs on the comparative phenomenon. He wears that perfume and has all the hot chicks running after him. His shirt is whiter because he uses that brand of washing powder. He gets promoted because he drives that car. She gets world fame because she uses that hair colour. He scores higher in class because he drinks that carton of milk. I could not help wonder at the m-ad world.
Introspective comparison of one's own experiences, performances and abilities are the best way to go about when comparisons become inevitable. This exercise not only encourages a phoenix-like redemption but also does away with the meanness of envy and jealousy that rises from looking elsewhere to get compared. The slowdown should only help us look deep within ourselves and see what we truly hold.
May be we could tell Obama to inspire and compare America with its own fading glorious past than scare the wits out of the new generation by threatening them with the competition and seizure of its fame by Asia, or for that matter, the rest of the world.