As I was driving down the freeway the other day, I caught myself gauging my own speed and progress by where I was in comparison to the other vehicles on the road. I looked down at the speedometer and realized that I was actually going faster than I should be. As I slowed down slightly, it occurred to me that I was now traveling at a speed that was perfectly acceptable to me.
I have been driving for many years and I have noticed a few things. It is fun to drive fast and pass people, as if I am driving a race car. It feels gratifying to be able to drive faster than someone else and get into the empty space in front of them. It gives me the feeling that I am getting to my destination faster. Yet, all too often as I pull off the freeway and am waiting at the stoplight to turn onto the city streets, I notice that next to me are the same people that I have passed. Which means, all my zipping and zooming did nothing for my progression, in comparison to those around me. I usually do not reach my destination any faster, despite the illusion that I am going faster.
We do this a lot in life, not just on the freeway. We judge ourselves based on the people who are around us. When in fact, we are all different. We are all going different places. Even if we have the same destination we all have different purposes and may take different routes. Thus, it should not matter how fast we are going compared to how fast someone else is going. Our lives are different from theirs. Our challenges are different.
I need to gauge my progress against myself. Comparing myself to someone else would be like comparing an apple to an orange. This applies to happiness, money, education, knowledge, social aptitude, running speed, physical appearance, et cetera.
I can never become better than someone else. To attempt to do so would be pointless folly. I will never be someone else. Nor do I really want to be. I am who I am. I can become better than I was yesterday. That should be my only comparison. That and the goal I have ahead of me of who I want to become.