“Would you swap your life with that of an 80-year-old billionaire?”
Almost any sensible youngster will respond to this question with an emphatic ‘no’.
Yet, almost every few weeks, someone asks me this question: “How do I stop comparing myself with others?”
If we are not willing to swap our life with that of an old billionaire, does it not mean that the years of our lives are much more valuable? Then why would we envy someone’s material success?
But some might say, this is not a good analogy — we feel envious of our classmates, not Warren Buffet. Fair point.
But here is my next question: Would you swap your life with that of your ‘highly successful’ classmate? If you do, you get everything from their life — you can’t pick and choose. You get all their money, but also all their worries, potential health problems, all their good-luck and ill-luck, and everything else.
Most of us would not choose to swap.
While these are all silly-sounding hypothetical questions, they do illustrate something we often overlook: We don’t know what someone else’s life is — we only see what people choose to make visible.
What’s the point then, in envying anyone?