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Since You Asked: Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

What can you do if you are feeling less-than when reading about inspirational people? Since you asked, Rob, Susan, and David offer their thoughts.

David
Welcome, everybody to the Since You Asked show. Let’s check in with our brilliant co-hosts, Susan and Rob, and find out what’s new with them. Susan, how’s your weekend? What’s going on?

Susan
Oh, same old, same old. I’m getting ready to compete again. So this week, I’m working on weights and some HIIT training. Speaking of competitive bodybuilding, Rob, when are you going to start a bodybuilding competition?

Rob
I love you. I do go to the gym. I like walking. But to be a competitive bodybuilder, I just don’t think I have the mindset nor the dedication. But I do like working out. How’s that? That helps.

David
I think I’m just trying to bring this vision into my mind of Rob in a Speedo with the hat on stage, sort of, you know, greased up and orange. I’m just going to remove that image from my mind. I don’t want to see that. Never mind.

Rob
Okay. I’ll send you that picture.

Susan
I was thinking of Rob parachuting from a plane in this little Speedo. 

Rob
If I parachute naked into Burning Man, I get a free ticket. So now we’re getting somewhere. Wow. Yeah, I’ll do that next year.

David
Okay. Goals. We all have goals. Rob, I’m glad you’ve got yours. This week, we’re going to answer a question here outside of Rob’s naked skydiving fantasy. The question is from a 61-year-old woman. She says, “I see all these people in your magazine living their best life. I feel insecure that I’m not. How can I get there?”

Quick thought, Susan. What do you got?

Susan
Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s a magazine, right? The magazine is made to make everyone look like they’re living their best life. And that’s not something you should compare yourself with. It’s not a competition. You should take the tools from it and see how they apply to make your life better. Don’t compare yourself.

David
Rob. What you got?

Rob
It’s all about you. It’s all about me. It’s about ourselves. So just tell yourself that I deserve to have my best life and I’m worthy of my best life. Go with that attitude and you’ll find it wherever it is.

David
Well, as the editor of, I’m guessing, said magazine, I can weigh in on this a little bit. The reason that we show people like this is because so much else of what’s shown for people our age is really derogatory, medicalized and infantilized. And so, what we try and do is put things out there that people can aspire to.

What’s wrong with being aspirational? You know, even models don’t look like models. And I’ve got to say, we don’t retouch people. They just are the way they are. We try and tell their story and we just put it on the menu. It’s like, you can pick or not, but we want to let you know, if you want to live this life, we’re going to give you some tips on how to do it.

We don’t mean to put anybody down. That’s not our point. Our point is to say, there are other options out there than perhaps what you see in pharma ads or AARP or any other crap.

Rob
Well, I love that. Right. And we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. We’re putting our best foot forward. And these interviews and what’s going on behind closed doors in our real lives. Is that what you want to aspire to? So, just look at what they’re doing. Understand what it is for, what it is, and enjoy it and don’t get too worked up over what you’re not doing.

Susan
And I think you should read the stories behind them. Find who you align with, because in every magazine there’s going to be one person that, all of a sudden, what’s their story about and how does that connect with you? And then what were the tools that they used to make their life better?

Are you going to necessarily look like them? No, you’re going to look like you. But you can look better. You can dream about being a better version of yourself.

Rob
One of my favorite metaphors is the expression, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” But the follow-up is: It’s just as hard to mow. You still have to fertilize it. I’m not being, you know, in your face, but make sure your grass is green. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Then you can go worry about everybody else’s grass.

David
I want to add that I had this 35-year career at the top of magazine photography, and I met a lot of Academy Award-winning people. I met people who won Nobel Prizes. I met people who were MVPs in sports stuff. They’re just like us. They have just the same problems. The difference is, they’ve got a great PR person.

It smooths it all out. But you know, we’re all humans. When you read these things, my advice is just to look for the inspirational things that are useful to you and let the rest of it go. Stop with the comparison. Supermodels don’t even look like supermodels, I’ve got to tell you. 

Susan
Oh, my God. You just summed it up. Comparison is the thief of joy. Try and be happy in your own skin and look at the tools that make life more joyful for you. Be happy, be grateful. Smile.

Rob
Absolutely. And have compassion for yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over what you’re not doing: These people are this way, I’m not. Just love yourself, give yourself a break. And that opens it up and opens you up to go find your best life. So just love yourself and be compassionate.

David
As the brilliant Stacy London told me, “Aim to become the best version of yourself today, not who you were 10 years, 20 years, 50 years ago.” Let’s just work on who we are today and become the best version of that.

Rob
Love that.

Susan
Love. Hear, hear, Stacy London.

David
She’s brilliant. Anyway, guys, we’ll see you next week. Thank you so much, everyone, for following us on Since You Asked. If you really like it, subscribe; if you like it even more, tell your friends about it and we’ll see you all next week. Take care.

See medical disclaimer below. ↓

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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

 

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