There are so many choices in life that it sometimes seems overwhelming. Even if you want to make all the right decisions, inevitably you make a few mistakes. I’m probably a poster child for having good intentions, but failing to make the best decisions. I think that many of the traits we have are learned from family and friends. If you grew up in a house that struggled with money, undoubtedly, you behave differently than if you had grown up in a house that had lots of money to burn. People react in many different ways to these situations. One person might think, â€œBoy, I sure don’t want to have to worry about money when I get older so I’m going to make a few different choicesâ€, while another person might not make any different decisions and face the same financial situations as their family has in the past.
Regardless of the upbringing you had, and regardless how much you may think you know, there are other people out there that know FAR more. This is probably an understatement. When it comes to comparing ourselves to others around us, I think we have two basic choices. We can look at people that aren’t doing as well as we are and be grateful, or we can look at people that are doing better than us and ask a few questions. Personally, I’ve chosen the latter as a general guideline for myself. Some of the questions I tend to ask myself about the people that are better off than I am:
- What actions do they take on a daily basis that have made them better off?
- Was everything handed to them in their life? (If so, I don’t bother watching these people because they are just lucky)
- How has this person gotten to where they are today?
- What does this person do for a living and what level of education do they have?
- Are there any books that they recommend to help me see the world through their eyes?
- If they were in my shoes, what would they do?
- What other advice can they give me?
- What drawbacks are there for being in their situation?
It probably goes without saying, but if you take this approach (comparing yourself to others that are better off than you are), you probably need to try to surround yourself with successful people. If you don’t, it tends to be slim pickings.
Now for the bad news. By continually comparing yourself to others that are better off than you are, you may find yourself getting a bit frustrated over time. You can’t do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you do, no matter what you have in life, you will be a pretty unhappy person. It’s healthy to do this in moderation as a means to move forward with your goals, but it’s also healthy to take stock in what you have and be grateful. I personally find myself riding the emotional roller coaster of wanting more and not being happy that I can’t get there today, and, at the same time, find myself feeling grateful for my wife and daughter and the standard of living we are able to support.