Not comparing > comparing

If you’ll allow me a round-about start to a blog post: It takes me a while to feel compelled to write something for this blog. This particular idea has been bouncing around in my head all week. It finally came to a head in talking to my son this morning.

Test Scores

He’s been doing mandatory state testing this week. Unlike in my day where we’d take the test and seemingly four months later get the results (having completely forgotten we’d taken a test), they receive their results immediately. I believe this is a much more practical way to keep grade-schoolers engaged; immediate feedback loops. But I digress.

My son was excited because he scored better than another kid.

“Dude, you shouldn’t compare yourself to your friends.”
“He’s not my friend.”
“You shouldn’t compare yourself to your buddies.”
“He’s not my buddy.”
My wife chimes in on this circular argument, “You shouldn’t compare yourself to others.”
Thank you, wife, that’s what I was trying to say.

Physical Fitness

Today he runs the mile. This is something he dreads. It feels like every week he’s complaining about how at the end of it he has to run the mile. It’s not so much for him about running a mile. It’s the graded and recorded one he fears so much (although most normal people don’t get overly excited about long physical exertion).

He wants to be physically fit. He wants to be an athlete. My son has always thought of himself as fast as the Flash. A single year of track showed him differently, but his self-confidence is through the roof.

And this is where the idea began bouncing around for me. I’ve been doing BJJ for a while now. Yet, in comparing myself to some of the more stellar practitioners at the gym and my training mates, I’m still at the same level I’ve always been. Do I notice that it takes more and more tricks to get me? Do I notice when rolling with brand new students I absolutely dominate? Do I notice I’m consistently giving those new students the lessons I’ve learned over the last 3+ years of classes, so they can become better quicker?

I notice enough to put it in this blog post. But sometimes not enough when comparing myself to everyone else in the class.


There is no high-score counter in life. I wish there was. I’d min-max my decisions in life to get the highest score I could.

I look at my two BJJ coaches.

They both have amazing jobs, teaching martial arts day in and day out. They both can kick my ass. I’m letting them have all the wins in the columns where they win. I’m not looking at all the columns where I win.

Score yourself compared to yourself

So instead of trying to get value looking around me, I’ll look at my life, and count my blessings. This is the hand I:

  • Have been dealt
  • Earned myself
  • Will play

I’m in a fairly blessed position right now in my life. Instead of wishing for more, I should just see how far I’ve come. And that viewpoint makes all the difference.

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