A Tale of Two Cities

How do you keep from comparing yourself to other people? Everyone around us is so successful? It seems near impossible to feel you are measuring up.

Look around. I bet someone else got the job you want, has a higher salary, is going to a better school, has a higher GPA, is going to be a doctor, is prettier, is  funnier, has a better car, or purse, or phone, or boyfriend… AND you are lucky enough to have Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat to keep you constantly reminded of all the fabulous things that everyone else is doing.

How do you keep from comparing?

Well first of all. I don’t keep from comparing. I can’t. If anyone has the secret of how to completely avoid comparing yourself to those around you. By all means, please speak up. I am going to go ahead and speak for everyone and say we would all like to be let in on that secret.

But let’s say, for just a minute, that instead of comparing ourselves to everyone around us using the totem pole method, we  compared ourselves to those around us like we compare cities.

Now I know that there are about a zillion different lists on the internet that claim to rank the best cities in America. But I would bet, that after a careful statistical analysis of these lists, you would find that every single one is different.

When we compare cities, we compare them based on so SO many factors: size, climate, crime rate, culture, income, cost of living, music scene, sports, food, culture, community…. you get the point.

To illustrate my point I googled “best city in america” (no, I didn’t capitalize America, its Google, it knew what I meant). As you would expect, in only 0.49 seconds google turned out 940 million lists of the best cities in America. Selecting just two of these articles, both San Francisco, CA and Madison, WI are the BEST city in America.

I’ll trust that all of you are smart enough to understand the myriad of ways in which Madison and San Francisco are different. But both have amazing wonderful things to explore. And they are only two of the amazing cities in America.

So what if we compared ourselves to others like we compared cities? Human beings are so complex, why limit ourselves to one simple scale of comparison?

Does every city have things it could improve? Yes. Seriously, I challenge anyone to find a city that is perfect, with nothing to improve. But every single city has amazing, unique, wonderful things about it. And those things we do well: model them, own them, be confident in them. And when we do compare, we can look at the models around us to improve areas that need strengthening, but realize that those weaknesses do not, in any way, invalidate our strengths.


PS. The Chicago Air and Water Show was tons of fun! We had the chance to watch from a rooftop!!

**For those who are curious, these are the two top city lists I found.


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