Does This One Thing Ruin Happiness?

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    95 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    Two things for you to think about

    Comparison is inevitable. Instead of trying to stop comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to better people and for better reasons.

    Comparison gets a bad rap. There’s an old saying, “comparison is the thief of happiness.” But comparison can be a good thing. Comparing ourselves to others can inspire us and motivate us to be better. What matters isn’t the comparison. What matters is the meaning we derive from the comparison.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Three things for you to ask yourself

    How have you been comparing yourself to others in a way that is unhelpful and makes you feel worse?

    What are the narratives you’ve constructed around those comparisons (i.e., “I’ll never be as good as him,” or “She has life so easy,” etc.?) How can you change these narratives?

    Put another way, how can you compare yourself to others in a way that is helpful, that inspires you?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    Three things for you to try this week

    Find something admirable and inspiring in somebody. Bonus points if you tell that person that you find it admirable and inspiring. Double bonus points if the thing that you find admirable and inspiring is the same thing that used to make you feel bad about yourself.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    Last week’s email asked you to go learn something about the people you’ve written off, felt judged by, or judged yourself.

    It turns out Anna from Finland had already been doing this at work:

    Following the new year, the company I work for got a new CEO and CFO. They’re both the crème de la crème according to the people surrounding them, and it was strongly hinted by the same people that you’d do well to be on their “it-list.”

    I refused to let myself get intimidated by these two gents and their impressive track record and just got to know them. And what a goddamn game changer it was. It took a while but after seeing that my questions and curiosity were sincere, they now want to tell me so much and engage me in what they do and what they have in view for the company.

    Your email came as confirmation for my breakthrough!

    While Jessica applied last week’s advice closer to home:

    The last six months have been horrific for my mental health as I’ve been dealing with family members who moved to our home. Your email reminded me of what I used to do and you’re right. I focused on understanding them, their individuality, and contemplated my reality. It helped halt my outburst of reactions and I began communicating more purposefully to some and just communicating less with others. I must say that the change of mindset largely changed my approach to them and I noticed changes in how they respond to me too!

    Dahlan used curiosity to free himself from a long-held belief:

    I’ve always had this underlying belief that the more attractive and cool a stranger seemed, the more of an asshole they were. I realized it was because I always felt self-conscious and inadequate around them. So I decided to test this belief and find out if the attractive and cool people I see are as evil as I thought they were.

    I decided to go up to one and talk with them. They were attractive, cool, and amazing. I felt vulnerable, I felt the world was falling apart. And to my surprise, and this might sound crazy, *I was wrong*. They weren’t evil, or out to get me. They were kind, compassionate, and cool.

    Focusing my curiosity onto what I thought about them more than what they thought about me allowed me to be myself. I felt so free.

    And to wrap up, Jamie has a thought on how far a little curiosity can go:

    I was pleasantly surprised to see that curiosity was the topic this week! Curiosity is my mantra for 2023. It’s very easy to talk about ourselves because we’re all looking for validation. But, stopping for a moment, and being curious about somebody else, gives them the validation and maybe, just maybe, a deeper relationship can evolve whereby we also get the validation that we keep looking for.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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