Comparison is relative, contentedness is real. If someone asks us, “ Which one is greater, x or y?” We “smartly” counter-question, “How am I supposed to compare when I don’t know what x and y are? Give me values.” The person replies “x equals 7, y equals 4” Then we reply, “Easy! x it is.” But how often do we ask the unit(s)? It is important, right? Very important in fact. The basic principle of comparison is that the units of things being compared must be the same. And here we are capable of comparing anything with everything. And yet we compare 7 days with 4 oranges. Genius!
I know it is very natural and very human to make comparisons. Sometimes, it comes as an instinct. For example, whenever we talk about Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi comes in the next breathe – whether we like it or not – whether we want it or not. It is what it is. But when I think, it is very unfair to both of them to make comparisons. Yes, we have data and statistics of various parameters of every movement(s) and/or minute(s) of them on the pitch and we compare them on the basis of that. What we forget is that they are 9 days off the pitch to be on the pitch the 10th day. What I mean is, the 9 days that they spend off the field working their backside off is what makes them who they are. The 10th day is just the product. And no parameter can sum up the work that goes behind in those 9 days. They have their own routines, own work ethics, and both equally effective. So, who we like better is the question we answer when asked, “Who is better?”
We may not realize that when we say things in one light, the person on the receiving end may take them in another light. Let me give you an example: Your daughter is only just learning to cook. She made you a curry. She made you taste the curry. When asked how the curry tastes, you answer “Tastier than the last time.” Now you might say- What can possibly be wrong in that statement. Well, the mind can work different to how we think it works. Your daughter worked as eagerly on the last curry as she did for this one. It’s because of the last curry that this one became tasty. But when you said “tastier than last time” it also means or also can be interpreted as “last one was less tasty than this” and what this can do is take the shine off the work she put in that day. And that can be deflating. Note that all this while, I am using the word ‘can’. Yes 9/10 times, your daughter may not think the way I explained. But in saying that, 1/10 has to account for something, right? So, why compare? Why use more words when less can be as effective, if not more. “Tasty!” would suffice.
Let’s look at another example. You have two sons – one excels at sports and the other at academics. But would it be fair if we compare the academics of the one good at sports with the other one’s? Or the sports skill of the one good in studies with his brother’s -No, right? And yet that is what we do very often. What happens in reality is even worse. We compare a boy/girl from one family growing up in a certain environment to another growing up in a completely different one just because it is convenient. Just because they are contemporaries or just because they are in the same class.
I am the sort of person that does not like being compared to anyone else in any regard. It feels insulting to me and also to the person I am compared with. I believe that no two people in the world have the same unit and hence do not fit the principle of comparison -Yes, some parameters such as age, height, and weight can be but what I mean is there can be no general comparison. For example, when we say A is more beautiful than B – it does not make complete sense. There are no units to compare beauty, are there? What I conceive ‘beautiful’ may be completely different from your form of ‘beautiful’. I say beautiful is a bodily adjective. You may say NO- if so, ‘good looking’ would mean the same as ‘beautiful’. I say ‘beautiful’ is feminine. And you may say, if so how do you describe the smile of your grandfather or your kid? I feel we do not do people full justice when we compare them with questions like – ‘Who is better? Who is wiser?’ We should leave them be. We need to celebrate people rather than compare them. The only person I like to be compared with is the person I was yesterday, not even the day before. That also only to gain a perspective. Comparison is a cage and contentment is the key to the cage. So, what do you think: Apple or Cricket?