Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Dangers of Comparitis

I have a confession to make.  I have a deadly disease and it is called 'Comparitis'.  I believe it is something I have lived with my entire life.  If you are not familiar with this condition, it means that I have a tendency to compare my view of other people's lives to my own.  For years, I have obsessively surveyed how I stand up to my peers and analysed my position in comparison to theirs.  Was my job title as impressive?  Was my salary as generous? Was my house as homely?  Was my boyfriend as faultless?  Were my family as close-knit?  Was my figure as fat-free?  Was my party as raucous?  Was my hair as shiny?  Was my car as well-specced?  Was my wardrobe as stylish?  Was my dog as well-trained?

I used to believe that this was a typical trait of a competitive person, a way of spurring myself on to reach increasingly ambitious goals.  As I have got older I have started to understand this is an emotionally dangerous disease that erodes positivity, leaving only feelings of inadequacy and failure.  Now that I am aware of its enduring risks I am taking action to halt its progression.  So rather than focusing on how: I have an inferior job title to my peers; earn less money; live in a smaller apartment; have a scruffier wardrobe; have frizzier hair; have more fat and cellulite; and don't own a car.... I thought I would instead put the spotlight on the fantastic things that have happened in my life recently.

1)  I have made a complete career change from marketing to teaching
2)  I have succeeded in achieving a great work/life balance (a genuine accomplishment for workaholic Hong Kong).  Each week I work two days in one kindergarten, half a day in another, and supplement that with private tutoring.
3)  I am slowly building my private tutoring business.
4)  I am going to teach English at a Summer Camp in Beijing for a month in July/August.
5)  I have sailed 1200nm across the China Sea from Hong Kong to the Philippines and back again.
6)  I have completed my first (and probably last!) Cat 1 ocean race.
7)  I have visited a new country.
8)  I am going to go hiking in China with David when I finish the Summer Camp in Beijing.
9)  I have been to a party at the most amazing house in Hong Kong overlooking the skyline and harbour.
10)  I have been to the Hong Kong Sevens.

In order to combat this critical disease it is vital for me to regularly acknowledge how incredibly lucky I am to be here in Asia, participating in so many incalculable life experiences.   In the words of Mark Twain "Comparison is the death of all joy".  I am not going to let Comparitis eradicate all the joy from my life.

Sailing across the South China Sea

 Partying in the Philippines
Partying in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Sevens

1 comment:

  1. I used to suffer from Comparitis. This very disease was, in fact, a significant motive behind my move to Barcelona over a decade ago, so I know exactly how you feel. After being trapped for 10 years in the London rat race (5 of which were spent desperately looking for an escape route) my move to Spain was the best possible cure.

    Looking at your list of achievements above made me think of how my life has changed. In the past week alone I have been to the Spanish F1 Grand Prix (15km from my house), had lunch at the No.1 (sorry, No.2) restaurant in the world (50km from my house), had lunch on the beach in Barcelona - my local "town", (15km from my house) and been entertained at the Spanish Open Golf at Spain's No.1 golf course (40km from my house). I was even been invited to play in the Pro-Am but was too busy eating at the 2nd best restaurant in the world. In the last 6 months I have achieved more in my profesional life that I did during the best part of 10 years in London, I've travelled to China, Hong Kong and finally fulfilled a lifetime ambition of going to the Hong Kong 7s (with you!).

    None of this is meant to sound smug. I'm just making the point that by making the odd change to your life and focussing on all the good thing around you rather than concerning yourself with what everyone else is doing, you find that Comparitis isn't actually a deadly disease at all and is, in fact, easily curable. Ever thought about how many people might actually be stuck in a rut and enviably comparing their life with yours??


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