Questioner: Throughout our life, in school, in the office, everywhere we are constantly being compared with others around us. Why are such comparisons being made? Why are we not appreciated for who we are?
Sadhguru: There are certain areas of life where our whole learning process only exists because of many things that have happened in the past. You can write the ABC because someone else also wrote the ABC before you. By yourself you would not have written the ABC. So what you can do is not just coming out of you. What you can do is coming out of the experience of humanity. Writing the ABC is coming out of the experience of language of thousands of generations of people.
Every other thing that you can do is also like this. It is not only coming out of you; it is coming because of everyone’s contribution to you. Invariably, comparison becomes a necessity because if there is no comparison, you might be doing something silly in your life but you would think you are doing great. Hasn’t it happened to you often enough? You thought you were doing fantastic. Then someone came by and they were doing things in such a way that you felt like an utter idiot. So this comparison is needed otherwise everyone who is doing idiotic things will think he is a king by himself.
The comparison is perfectly okay, but it is not about you, it is only about what you can do. It is just about your actions. In activity, all of us are differently capable. If we do not have benchmarks, we cannot improve our activity. Not everyone is driven by a passion to do what they are doing where they will anyway do their best. They need some benchmarks. There is nothing wrong with this. Otherwise every day you will start from scratch and reinvent the wheel.
Only if you have a problem in knowing that someone is doing better than you will this comparison be a problem. You should not have a problem that someone is doing better than you. I am always seeking someone who can do things better than me because then my life will become easy. I don’t want to live with dumb people who cannot do things as well as me. If they can do things better than me, my life gets easier, better, and more beautiful. But if you are a horrible tyrant, you do not want anyone to do better than you. This is a silly way to exist. This foolishness has come into you because you are always trying to measure the person, “Am I bigger than him? Am I smaller than him?” – because your whole effort is somehow to sit on top of the heap.
The reason your parents or your corporate sector is goading you is simply because they are not interested in doing things well, they are only interested in being number one. They are not interested that you might run a hundred meters in seven seconds – nobody did seven seconds yet – they are only interested that you must be one inch ahead of the rest of the pack. This problem arises because you have a horrible sense of insecurity about yourself. Your whole life is invested in looking a little better than someone else. This is a wasteful life because most probably you will not succeed and definitely you will not explore the full potential of who you are. You will be miserable whether you succeed or not, because constantly trying to stay ahead of someone is a miserable way to exist. The insecurity that someone may pull you down and exceed you is a horrible way to exist.
The most fundamental thing is to fix your way of experiencing life. If you are joyful by your own nature, then, whatever you do, you will not get into this unhealthy state of life within yourself. You can go and participate in any kind of competition; you will do the best you can because you are already blissful. Even if you come last, it is still beautiful because you have done your best. You will know the joy of action only when you are blissful by your own nature. If you are doing action to squeeze happiness out of the life around you, then once in a way when there is a flash of success you are elated, but when it does not happen you will be miserable.
We are trying to plunge into the process of life without setting up the fundamental foundation that is needed for one to live a healthy life. The first and foremost thing that a child knows is how to be joyful, the moment his stomach is full he is joyful. Even an infant knows this. Only when he is hungry he yells, the rest of the time he is joyful. This is the fundamental fabric of life. Nature is clearly telling you this state of being joyful is necessary for you to live a healthy life. This has to be firmed up, established, insured. You have to insure your joy first and then get into activity. Then it does not matter whether your activity goes up and down, you will not go up and down.