A child wastes 60% of the food on her plate..
You tell her – “Look at all the effort, time, money and resources that goes into putting that food on your plate. Is it not wrong to waste it?”
Sufficient. Straight-forward, unbeatable logic.
You tell her – “Look at all those poor children in slums and third world countries who barely get food to survive with. Is it not wrong to waste it when millions starve?”
Comparison Overload. Another person’s poverty is NOT the right reason for me to be responsible with resources. And, it is wrong to waste it even when nobody starves!
A kid is growing up filled with awe at the big adult world & adult achievements..
You tell him – “Look at Bill Gates’ & Steve Jobs’ extra-ordinary lives. WOW!”
You tell him – “Do you want to be like Bill Gates? Earn all the money in the world?” and “Don’t you want to become like Steve Jobs? How can you become that if you keep playing these silly games and not learning anything?”. (Moi Tiger Mom. Roaarrr)
Comparison Overload. Kid either drops out of school in a moment of ‘inspiration’, or ends up fretting “This can’t be happening. I should have started off with my own company and changed the world by now.” at 28. Or. . kid sits dreaming of marrying either Bill Gates or Steve Jobs & inheriting a fortune. Irrespective of whether you approve Gay marriage.
A teen scores low in the exams..
You tell him – “Look at your friend. He seems to have got the hang of how to do this.”
Sufficient. Shows possibility.
You tell him – “Look at your friend. Why can’t you be like him?”
Comparison Overload. Can only lead to envy.
You are not able to get on to or stay on the career path you envisioned for yourself..
You tell yourself – “I must be missing something. Let me figure that out and try harder. Look within.”
Sufficient. Triggers growth.
You tell yourself – “Look at everyone in my class. . look at the well-paying jobs they hold, the trophy partners they are in love with and the fancy brands they flaunt.. I am just not cool enough. I am a total failure.”
Comparison Overload. Short-cut that leads straight to self-esteem issues, depression and concrete ‘failure’.
A friend is going through bad patches in her personal life..
You tell her – “This too, shall pass.”
You tell her – “Oh, why does this happen to you? You don’t deserve this, when all those useless assholes are enjoying life. Anyway, think of the people who have it worse than you do.. You are at least at a better place than them.”
Comparison Overload. If I was that friend and had some ability to think rationally still left in me, I would compare you to a jealous condescending insensitive jack ass and add to the size of that already over-sized head of yours with some well-aimed paper-weight-throwing. Stop making people feel angry about other people’s good fortune and happy about other people’s misery, you jerk!
I have everything, going for me in life, just a wee bit of lazy time missing. I see a homeless beggar curled up on the pavement with nothing between his naked skin and the hungry winter fog..
I think – “Is there a homeless rehabilitation center nearby? I should at least remember to fetch my old blanket when I come by tomorrow”.
Sufficient. I am not figuratively blind. And bonus – I am sane. Yipee.
I think – “Oh, how he sleeps all day with not a piece of code to debug, not a thesis to write-up, not a deadline to meet, not a dumb meal to dutifully force down his throat. Even a beggar has better peace of mind than I do!”
Comparison Overload. I am ready to be certified insane & beyond repair. I can now call the suicide help-line – to help me kill myself.
If I can find something or the other to envy in any given person’s life and feel sad for myself, then I need professional help.
If I can feel good about my life only by having someone else suffer more than I do, then I am plain vanilla disgusting.
If I can not do anything with my life without a standard to compare against and someone else’s goals & achievements to match, human kind is going to rot in boredom that stunts evolution & growth.
I can understand overloading comparison operators – when the <, > & = relations are clearly defined among compared elements.
“ax”>”ap”? Got it.
”Contact lenses’ = ‘Spectacles’? I can imagine.
Human X >= Human Y?
Life P <= Life Q?
Why do we seem to forget that people and lives do not have well-defined <, > & = relationships and insist on overloading on comparison at any and every situation? And why do we behave as if the whole code of life would be meaningless if not for comparison? Can’t poor comparison operator catch a break?!
Perhaps ‘within’ is too dark & gloomy a space to look into compared to colorful scandalous glamorous ‘outside’!
(P.S. OK – The geek talk defied fierce resistance & just gushed out. Apologies to non-geeks! :-P)