Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the Hasidic Rabbi Zusya who, as he lay crying on his deathbed, was queried by his disciples: “Why do you fear God’s judgement? You have lived life with the faith of Abraham. You have been as nurturing as Rachel. You have feared the Divine as Moses himself. Why do fear judgement?”
To which he responds: “In the coming world, they will not ask me ‘why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?”
As Steven Furtick reminds us, so often we struggle because we compare our insides to everyone else’s highlight reel.
Maybe we’re the entrepreneur who measures herself against Jobs or Zuckerberg or Musk–or whomever happens to be the next rock star innovator.
Perhaps we’re the non-profit executive struggling mightily to emulate the playbook of Teach for America or charity: water or Acumen.
Or instead we’re the corporate leader obsessing about “best demonstrated practices” and beating ourselves up for our imperfection while our head spins wondering what would Jack or Jeff do?
We hit the golf course and curse ourselves because our drives don’t fly nearly as far as Jason’s and our putts don’t fall like Jordan’s. We castigate ourselves for not being as disciplined as this one and not being in as good shape as that one. We wonder what’s wrong with us because we don’t have the big house. And when we get the big house we worry about why ours isn’t decorated as nicely as our neighbors or what we see on TV.
It’s exhausting. More importantly, it’s pointless.
It’s pretty unlikely we find happiness through relentlessly competing and comparing to overcome our own insecurities. And I can’t think of one instance where meaningful change came from merely copying someone else.
I like what Oscar Wilde said. “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
HT to Dr. Laurel Hallman for inspiring this post