Comparison is the Thief of Joy

by Site Author


The picture above is my favorite optical illusion. The two orange circles are the same size. (Go ahead and measure!) But the orange circle on the right appears much bigger.

We just can’t help but compare each orange circle to its neighbors. Even once you’ve taken a ruler to the image, the second orange circle just seems bigger.

We make comparisons all the time. Our minds are always measuring one thing relative to another. It’s automatic—it’s just how we think, how we make sense of the world.

But occasionally, the business of comparing one thing to another gets out of hand. When we compare ourselves to our neighbors, and find fault in ourselves, we make a mistake. As Theodore Roosevelt famously put it, “comparison is the thief of joy.”