Positive Vibes — Three Types of People
John: I told this story recently, but it bears repeating again. Goke says there are three types of people. He calls them Fred, Thomas and Clark. Think of Fred, like you would Fred Flintstone, the patriarch of the modern stone-age family, with Wilma, Pebbles or Dino. He is constantly comparing himself. Am I faster than that saber-toothed tiger? Will I turn blue like Barney did after eating those berries? What about Mr. Slate that got him that pretty Neanderthal lady? In Fred’s world, this a smart move. It’s how he survives. If he fails to spot his peers’ mistakes and do better, he dies. However, being smart has a price, even in Fred’s time. Fred is constantly stressed. He’ll rarely get a good night’s sleep. It’s impossible for him to rest. He always has to look over his shoulder. And so he’s never quite at peace. And this process is outdated. There are no saber-toothed tigers here, at least not where I am standing. Thomas is the guy in your corner office. He is also comparing himself – Is this guy richer than me? Do I waste less time than that dude? Is she prettier than my girlfriend? In Thomas’s world, this is useless. It’s a mirage. If he woke up from it, he’d realize it’s really built on and for individual freedom. Comparisons don’t serve a purpose here. But until he does, he’ll be just as stressed as Fred. Minus the good reason. He’s the wasting-time on Facebook, guy on his phone at the elevator, suffering from burnout. Clark is Clark Kent, as in Superman. He doesn’t need to compare. He’s got proof: he’s better than anyone. In a way, he’s the ultimate success in self-improvement. But because of it, he’s lonely. Lucky for us, he keeps turning his sense of judgment inward. How can I be a good person? Am I doing the right thing? What serves the greater good?
Meanwhile, we’re spinning in our little circles of comparison and judgment, wishing for more power instead of using the power we have to serve the world we live in. Sandy, self-improvement is important, but not if we don’t serve the world around us. How do you get off the wheel of comparison, staying free of stress, FOMO and using your powers for good and not evil?
Sandy: Hey John. I’m afraid I have to disagree with Goke. I believe there are many more types of people than three (although I enjoyed the descriptions of Fred, Thomas and Clark).
There are actually many people in the world who don’t look to others to define who they are, and don’t compare where they are in life with where others are. These are the people who have good self-esteem, and are able to love and appreciate themselves completely. If you feel this way it doesn’t mean you are perfect (because there is no such thing), or there is no room to learn and grow (because there is always more to know). It does mean that you accept yourself as you are, flaws and all, and don’t need to compare yourself with others for validation.
It means you get to define who you want to be and the kind of life you want to live, and then make that happen for yourself. Along the way you reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of your choices.
Wise people do what Fred does, by watching and learning from others. It’s always smart to avoid mistakes by seeing what works and doesn’t work for others, and then deciding if their method fits for who you are. However, if it’s more about being the person you are, instead of avoiding the saber-toothed-tiger, I like to think that you can do what fits for you, not Fred.
I’m not sure I understand why someone who is self-aware has to be lonely. I would think that awareness would make you more comfortable being with others, and others will enjoy being with you because you are relaxed and confident. Also, when you are self-aware you are usually comfortable being with yourself, so don’t “need” other people to provide you with an identity or validation.
Spinning in a circle of comparison and judgment sounds exhausting to me. I’d rather see you look inward (like Clark Kent) without arrogance, appreciate the amazing person you are, and decide which parts of you you’d like to grow. Then do that, and use the results for both personal and common good.
Please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom and experience.
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