3 Types of Comparison

It’s been noted that we can compare ourselves to others in at least three different ways.

  1. Upward comparison – with people we perceive are better than us. This leads to envy.
  2. Lateral comparison – with people we perceive are at our same level. This leads to competition.
  3. Downward comparison – with people we perceive who are worse off than us. This leads to arrogance.

We’d all love to say we’re above the comparison trap, but I’ll be the first to admit how easy I can get sucked into this. Even in areas that shouldn’t matter.

Michelle and I have been working out at Orange Theory together now that all our kids are in school during the day. This week we had what they call a “benchmark row,” which means you time yourself doing 2000 meters on the rowing machine. Afterward, you input your time in their computer so it saves it to your profile.


Emotional Mimicry

It’s common for a child to resemble one of his or her parents. After all, there’s DNA involved and all that science stuff we learned about in school. But have you ever noticed how couples often look alike? That can’t (or at least should not be) genetics at work.

Michelle and I have heard this feedback throughout our marriage. I’m sure there are a variety of reasons why this happens, but one of them I’ve been reading about recently is called mimicry. We tend to mimic—often subconsciously—the people we are around.

This can lead to permanent changes in our features. If we smile a lot, or scowl a lot, we know those emotions can eventually leave marks etched into our faces. But when we share an emotional reaction with another person on a regular basis, we both can begin to look similar as well. The author Jonah Berger explains it this way:


What Does the Spirit of God Lead To?

Recently I wrote about how we often feel weird when the secular and the spiritual are mixed together (see: When Two Songs Collide). The feedback I got on that post reminded me this is something we probably need to talk much more about. Without a robust view of how to infuse our “spiritual” self with the world around us we tend to confine Jesus to a physical church space. While that environment is often a catalyst for people in their faith, it should never become a container to limit our awareness of God’s presence. Jesus is all around us and we should live out our faith accordingly.

In the book of Exodus, Moses receives detailed instructions from God for building the Tabernacle. We find that God specifically gives talent to a group of workers needed to pull it off. Here’s how the text says it:


Where Do You Need to Grow?

Here’s an interesting observation I’ve had with the growth in my own life. It’s often only in retrospect we realize any progress we’ve made in an area. At the time, we tend not to see objectively how we’re doing.

I recorded a video last week and I ended up looking through similar videos in the past that I had loaded. When I compared my face in the videos I was shocked.


When Two Songs Collide

I visited a friend in Ohio last weekend. On Sunday morning I was driving in my rental car when I had a funny experience. I had scrolled through the radio stations to find the local rock station. It was playing a song called “Why Don’t You Get a Job” by The Offspring. I remember it from high school and it’s actually a bit of an obnoxious song.

If you’re not familiar with it, here’s what it sounds like (heads up: there’s some language in the song).


How to Recognize Blind Spots

Michelle and I now have all five kids at full-day school. It has definitely marked a new season of life for us as we have our daytime back for the first time in more than twelve years. We’ve gone to coffee and lunch and begun to explore how we can best use this time.

One of the realizations is that we can actually attend a gym together. This is something we’ve tried over the years but schedules and kids made it impossible. We signed up for our local Orange Theory and have gone to three classes so far this week. Which coincidentally reminds me of this hilarious video: