Theodore Roosevelt famously said that comparison is the thief of joy. Using what other people have or what they’ve done to chart your progress, holding your life or your work up to some outside vague standard of greatness, paying attention to your perception of how good someone else has it is rarely the way to happiness. We’re on our own journey with our own unique circumstances. Therefore comparison, as the quote implies, is something mostly to be avoided.
But, can comparison ever spur joy or relieve feelings of despair? In our interview with the famous DJ, entrepreneur, and practicing Stoic Mick Batyske, we asked if he could share with the Daily Stoic community one message or piece of advice to journal on, to try in practice, or just to think about today,
Always remember that there are people who would love to have your bad days. It’s kind of cliché and sort of an Instagram meme, but it’s so true. Acknowledging this puts you in a position of gratitude and astonishment, rather than greed and disappointment.
I have more going on in my life than ever, and with that, more problems than ever. New opportunities create lots of challenges. But I would never want to go backwards. I choose to welcome it and embrace it. I suppose that’s why The Obstacle Is The Way and Stoic philosophy has been so valuable to me.
The Stoics would not have been opposed to this kind of comparison—nor would Theodore Roosevelt have been—not if it made us better or more grateful. “Convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods,” Marcus Aurelius said, “that things are good and always will be.” On those bad days, sometimes that gift, that thing to be grateful for, is seeing how it could be worse—how it is in fact worse and has been worse for so many other people. Always remember, as Mick says, that someone out there would love to have your “bad” day.