Thief of Joy


Summary of Main Ideas

Comparison is the thief of joy.

We’ve heard this time and time again, but it begs the question: Why? What’s so wrong with comparison?

There’s a huge difference between competition and comparison. Competition fuels growth. Two teams go up against each other. They bring their best, leave it all on the field, and when the game is over, they shake hands, and go figure out how to be better.

Comparison is all about who’s better. “Am I better than you, or are you better than me?”

Comparison doesn’t encourage us to get better, it causes us to grow bitter. Comparison lifts one person up, while body slamming the other person to the mat.

It steals your joy, and it steals their joy

When you compare yourself to them, it brings you down, and it cultivates bitterness in you. It doesn't matter that you brought your best. It doesn’t matter how good your PR is. If their PR is better than yours, then yours must not actually be any good.  

Can I let you in on a secret? There will always be someone better than you. No matter what you do. You may be the best today, but by tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year, someone else will be better.

When we compare ourselves to others and downplay our good because someone else is better, it steals our joy.

It also steals their joy

When you compare yourself to them, you’re devaluing THEIR effort. THEIR best. Comparison says, “for mine to count, I have to devalue yours”

Instead of “it’s either me or you” why not have an “I’m my best, and they are their best” mentality? Let’s celebrate the good in ourselves, so that we can learn from other people’s “better,” so that we can be our best.


"Comparison is the thief of joy." Theodore Roosevelt

“Isn’t it strange how a lamb can feel like a lion when comparing itself to a mouse, whereas a lion feels like a lamb when measuring itself against dragons?” Richelle E. Goodrich, Slaying Dragons

Reflection Questions

  1. What will this attitude (action, desire, etc) cultivate?

  2. Will this help me grow better, or help me grow bitter?

  3. Ask yourself every time you step into the arena, “Am I bringing my best?”

  4. Where have I grown bitter when I should’ve been focused on getting better?