8 thoughts on “The Comparison Mindset

      • Material aspiration keeps us going on the most basic level – food, shelter & warmth for ourselves and our dependents; but commercial aspiration, and the comparison game, gets a foot in the door alongside our daily quest to survive. Learning to recognise and avoid the lure of the shiny goods is almost impossible and much more difficult the younger you are. The power advertising has over our sense of self-worth and contentment is appalling. Put that together with inbuilt obsolescence and the very few grow obscenely rich on our never ending quest for an entirely imagined holy grail of satisfaction.
        Typing this, right now, I look out of my window and see blue sky with clouds racing by. Taking a moment to stop and consider the wider picture always helps, even when it comes in small doses and in small details.

      • Good points, thanks for your comments.
        As I continue blundering through my own existence I begin to see a common thread in the ideas of possessions, exercise, diet, and self esteem. All of these dynamics are in constant flux. A meditative perspective is the only way that I can reestablish my own mental grounding mechanism. Most people run into problems (often chronically) when they have no personal strategies to recognize when an unhealthy problem arises in regard to their own well being. Time and again we are made aware of the rich and famous going WAY off the rails in search of that next big thing (NBT) that will push their pleasure receptors to new levels. It’s unsustainable.

        I’m always happier about my life in general when I purposefully limit my interaction with media and technology – using them as a tool only, then actually taking time to re-embrace the very things that DO make us human (like your blue sky and your clouds). Some people have been successfully brainwashed into believing that those are “sissy” ideas, concepts that have nothing to offer when in fact, they are the very things that create the best poetry, music and art – arts that those very same patrons ironically gravitate toward.

        It’s ok to be human, you just have to be willing to go slow and learn the warning signs in your own life before things go off the rails. Thanks so much for your insights! ~TH~

  1. There’s always someone worse of than yourself. I’ve never ever thought the converse, that there is always someone better off. Don’t think in that direction. As for material possessions, I’m always reminded of Lester Burnham in American Beauty when he tries to explain to Carolyn, his wife, “It’s just STUFF!”. Which is the conclusion I’d eventually come to, for example, if someone stole all my typewriters, or they were destroyed in a fire.

    • Steve –

      Wow, that’s cool – maybe you were born without an ‘envy’ bone!

      Yes, you hit the nail right on the head. I’m not sentimental about my guitars or my typewriters, or my car – it really is just ‘stuff’ (that scene resonated with me as well). For me, the important take-away from all of this is, these states of mind are in constant flux – so you have to develop that “spidey-sense’ when you’re being drawn away. Hence, I’m not looking at typewriters on the internet right now – I already have a backlog of critters to maintain and post to typewriter database! 🙂

      Thanks for your comments and as always, thanks for reading! ~Tom~

  2. I’ll be writing a post about the impossibility of retirement by folks of a certain age nowadays that I think will touch on some of the points you made here. Those commercials we see for pretty much anything tells us that we need more of what they are selling even if it is total nonsense. I’ve been focusing on paring down what I personally own and being honest about what I actually need. Just me, not my family. I like the change I’ve already felt. Less is definitely more!

    • Bob- Thanks for your input. It’s not like this is a new problem, but I sense that each new generation feels a sense of entitlement without actually giving any thought to what the possessions they own really mean. I too am in the process of paring down my possessions so that when I’m on my deathbed (in 150 years), my great grandchildren won’t have to deal with all of MY junk — just theirs. Thanks for reading! ~TH~

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