Last night as I was pondering what to write in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I picked up a book that my friend, Perch Ducote—one of the wisest men of all—suggested I read. It’s called, The First 30 Days, by Ariane de Bonvoisin and she’s a fellow Stanford grad.
As I thumbed through the pages, I landed upon a section called “Comparison Sickness.” It caught my attention. After all, how many of us get caught in the comparison trap? I found myself in it earlier just that same day.
If we honestly look at our thoughts, I’d wager a bet that many of us have a mind that points out each and every one of our shortcomings. I’ve written about this very topic at length in Professional Destiny. There I call it the “little voice.” Our little voice says things like this:
“Look at her success. Why do things seem easy for her? She’s got it together—I don’t.”
“Why is he making so much money and I’m not. Will I wallow here forever? Everything he touches seems to turn to gold, but for me—it’s a constant struggle.”
“She’s more fit and more engaging than I am. Her clothes are nicer too. I should just fade into the wall paper whenever she’s around.”
Then I read this story about comparisons and complaints in Ariane’s book. It went like this:
“One day, God was listening to all the comparisons people were making to others, and he asked each person to put all their problems in a transparent bag and place it in a separate room. Then he asked everyone to line up and, one by one, go into this room and pick a bag, any bag. Since the bags were transparent, everyone could see what others were going through—all the changes in their lives, the decisions they had to make, their complaints and their struggles with others. The first person looked around and finally decided to leave with his own bag. The next person did the same thing; she left with the bag she dropped off. In the end, everyone picked up his or her own bag. Why? Because we are meant to work through our problems, changes and crises. Even though it may not feel like it at the moment, you have not been given anything you cannot handle. In fact you’re an expert in dealing with your unique set of challenges.”
This story contains such a relevant message for us during the week of giving thanks. Sure we have our share of problems and complaints—and our bag might seem worse than anyone else’s. But when it all comes down to it, we’re perfectly equipped to handle what we’ve got. And it we compare the other way, we can always find someone with a bigger and heavier bag to carry than ours.
It’s a wonderful reminder to be grateful for what we have. Happy Thanksgiving!
4 Comments November 24, 2010