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Comparison, The Thief of Joy

Written by QCMHA Case Competition Coordinator Josh Borrell


Everyone is subject to comparison. Whether it is an idol, a friend, a sibling, a teammate, or a co-worker etc., people are guilty of comparing themselves and their accomplishments. Constantly comparing every aspect of our lives to others takes its toll in the form of stress, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness. In all my experiences in sports, extracurriculars, and academics, I am always chasing a new goal and often not celebrating success, as when I look around, I feel I could be doing more. That said, I’d like to think I have become better at enjoying my own and others’ successes and reducing the amount I compare myself to others. Here is what I have experienced and learned:

My Experience and Tools

There is an old quote from Epicurus who said, “Do not spoil what you have not; remember that you now have was once among the things you only hoped for”. I remember being in high school thinking about what I wanted to do once I graduated, and the answer was always go to Queen’s Commerce.

Behind all the studying and extracurriculars I was a part of the underlying goal was getting accepted into the program. If I take where I am now, I often forget about this goal. It has been replaced with trying to get a good job or club I was passionate about. I think is important to reflect on where you wanted to be and where you currently are. Everyone in this program has many things to be proud and grateful of. Though there is an excess amount of inspiring people you can compare yourself to everyday in Goodes and around campus, it is important to self-reflect about your own progress.


I think an important realization in the pursuit of joy and pride for me was that everyone’s process is different. You look at famous athletes like Michael Jordan and Lebron James. Depending on who you ask each can be considered the best basketball player of all time, yet each have a vastly different story. Michael Jordan missed out on the varsity team and was placed on junior varsity to develop. Lebron James had a different high school route. Stardom found him at a young age and has followed him since he skipped college to go straight to the NBA.

All this to say, people can be going to the same place on a different route. The important part is going at your own pace, trying to get slightly better each day, and enjoying the process. When we look at our program, there are so many ways to be successful during the 4 years and beyond. There is truly no better or worse path to take, just the one that suits you best.

Comparison can be a healthy tool if applied to the right scenarios. When comparing yourself to a mentor, sibling, athlete etc., for motivation and inspiration for the direction you want your path to take, you can realize a lot of value. On the other hand, comparing your achievements and ability to others consistently is a slippery slope to feelings of doubt, stress, and anxiety. It is essential to strike a balance between setting new goals and pursuing development while still celebrating where you are.

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