Jakob lost his hockey game tonight. He told me he played horribly and was done with hockey.
All I could think was, I know how you feel, buddy.
We’ve all been there. Haven’t we? In some form or another we have all felt the disappointment and the letdown that we felt as were children when all we wanted was to just pack up our toys and go home.
I wish I could say that it has gotten easier as I have become an adult, but the truth is, it hasn’t. There is always someone who gets the job and someone with a higher paying job. Someone who gets better grades and someone who has more Twitter followers, Facebook friends and post likes. There is always someone more qualified, more charismatic, more lucky. There is a mother who has it more together, a woman who is more beautiful and a son who makes his parents more proud.
And then there is us, feeling rejected and dejected.
Tonight, Jakob was playing goalie. The team they played was more than a level up from them but a score at the end of a game only amplifies the comparison of us versus them – they are better.
Mark Twain said,
“Comparison is the death of joy.”
I believe this to be true. I felt the same way this afternoon when I knew somebody chose to go with another designer instead of me and when I looked at my stats and they seemed so minuscule compared to others.
Perhaps, comparison is an even greater temptation as we become immersed in an online world where our friend count and popularity ranking are part of our personal profile. For some, this is their currency and yet, can you imagine if all of your bank account information and net worth were published for everyone to see?
Jakob played a great game tonight. He made a lot of really good saves. I was even chatting with some other parents and they asked how long Jakob had been playing. “This is his first year,” I told them, “You should have seen him at the beginning of the year, he could barely skate.”
As I entered the dressing room to find him slumped over and on the verge of tears however, his improvement over the year was the furthest thing from his mind. It is hard to see clearly when you are in the fog of disappointment. When you fall, and while still sore and tired, you must pick yourself up again and put one foot in front of the other, when every day takes perseverance and a determination you didn’t know you had in you. I know this all too well.
But I also know that the people who inspire me the most are people who have had their own fog to navigate through and are greater for it. They are more caring, more empathetic and more grateful. And most importantly, they know that their worth transcends a lost game, a six-digit salary or a heavy weight Twitter following.
There are those who try to get the furthest the fastest and then there are those who learn from every foggy patch on the journey and curve in the road. Who will you be?