Creative Juice: Comparison Is a Thief

April 7, 2014

I always think of “Great Men” as very secure in themselves.

They know who they are. They know what they want. And they know how to get their way.

And as far as great men go, President Theodore Roosevelt ranks near the top of my list.

Yes, I’m an American history lover. But Roosevelt was practically more machine than man. He dominated every room he entered. He was exceptionally smart, voracious in his studies, and even more voracious in his physical exploits. He enjoyed his adventures, his accomplishments, his family and the power of his personality.

Essentially, no man could compare with Roosevelt.

But something tells me that old T.R. knew what insecurity meant. Maybe it came from growing up as a sickly, smaller child. But Roosevelt knew that he could not be happy comparing his life to that of his fellows, any more than they could be happy comparing his life to their own.

Nothing we have, nothing we do, nothing we are seems quite as good when we scrutinize it in the light of what others have. Everything we do not have or do not accomplish feels like an insult when we see our neighbor does or has or is what we desire for ourselves.

I see it in my art room students every day and tell them to keep their eyes on their own work.

Because comparison does one thing:


Today, I’m going to be the best possible “me” and stop trying to figure out where I rank amongst my fellows, neighbors, friends and rivals.

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