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Rhitik Bhatt

Student, St. Paul's School, Banswara

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Is comparing to each other good or bad?

I read Sir Ken Robinson's book "The Element". In that book there was a section "Does size matters?" maybe in chapter 3. So, in that part he discussed that in spite a person lack something that doesn't mean that he/she is not good enough. I thought he was right and nowadays we do scaling almost all the time. It is pretty dangerous it is leading to several crimes. Like a child killed his friend in India because his friend got better marks than him. I think parents should play a major role in these things. They should not compare their kids with other's. It's not the only case there are many of them.

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  • Apr 1 2013: In my opinion:

    It is not the comparison itself that is the problem, it is the attitude regarding the comparison.

    Comparison is one of the most fundamental processes of the human mind. We define things by their similarities and differences. We cannot just turn it off. When we want to learn about something, we ask "What is that like?".

    We can adopt an attitude of inclusiveness. We can celebrate the differences and see differences as positive. We can see each and every person as good enough, regardless of school grades or athletic ability.

    Competition is a fact of life, and children should be taught constructive ways to deal with competing and winning and losing from a very early age. Children who cannot get good school grades should be taught to find a niche where they can be productive and perhaps excel. In some cases poor grades have nothing to do with the capabilities of the student; the schooling methods just do not suit that student's method of learning.

    Attitudes about competition are cultural, and in some cultures this is a problem. To some extent we can address these problems in school, but these kinds of attitudes are largely picked up from family.
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    Apr 2 2013: Comparing ourselves to each other is a way of establishing a kind of "normality" - a contrived state that some might live up to, some may rise above and others will fall below. It takes little or no account of the uniqueness of individuals, who may not actually want to be members of that exclusive elite called "normal".

    Even though all of us compare ourselves to each other, I still think it has undesirable consequences especially where such "normality" prefers to take more account of what people own, rather than who they are.
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      Apr 2 2013: Normal??? What is that??? LOL:>)

      Edit:
      OK....I'll be more serious now:>)
      I agree with you that comparing ourselves with each other may be a way to establish a kind "normality".....IF....we believe there is such a thing. I agree with you that it may often be a "contrived state", as you insightfully say.

      I think this practice may have "undesirable consequences" if we have expectations, including what we own (or do not own) as you mention.

      I will stick with my feeling/thought/belief.....
      "To use comparison, which I think/feel can be a tool for our own learning and growth, is neither good or bad. How we use the information gained from the comparison is the important piece."

      See any reason why that would not work councelor?
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        Apr 3 2013: "To use comparison, which I think/feel can be a tool for our own learning and growth, is neither good or bad. How we use the information gained from the comparison is the important piece."

        Agree entirely.

        Using such information constructively is probably the basis of "community", which is good, but a possible caveat could be that it could so easily slip into elitism and the rejection of those who are perceived as not belonging to it for whatever reason - which is negative for those on the outside, but feels positive (possibly) to those inside the elite group.

        What are your thoughts?
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          Apr 3 2013: Yes, I agree Allan. How we use the information and whether or not it is a constructive use is subjective, so our perception as individuals could "slip" into all kinds of interpretations.....yes?
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      Apr 2 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Kate, that it is our attitude and how we use the information. I also evaluate myself....how am I doing? What have I learned? Could I do better?

      I have played competitive sports, and I used to love healthy competition, which to me, is competition when the competitors are encouraging and supporting each other even though playing a game against each other. I admired one friend I played tennis with, as a partner in doubles, and against, as singles. She was great to have as a doubles partner because she was so consistant, and very challenging to play against, in singles, because she was so good. She also had a tennis court at her home, and played 6-7 days a week! I was aware of the fact that if I played more, I might reach her level, and decided that there were other things I prefered to do in that time. So I accepted the fact that she played better, more consistantly, and I tried to learn from her. She also has a wonderful, caring, giving, compassionate personality, so we could compare the way we played the game, and still be very good friends:>)

      When I traveled a lot, I often thought about my lifestyle, in a comparing way, because it reminded me to be very grateful for what I have. We talked about this in another conversation Kate....so many people in our world do not have basics, like water, food, shelter and safety. In my heart and mind, I was aware of a comparison....they are human beings....just like me in many ways, and yet they are struggling with their life circumstances daily. It caused me to be continually grateful to have the very basics.

      To use comparison, which I think/feel can be a tool for our own learning and growth, is neither good or bad. How we use the information gained from the comparison is the important piece.
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    Apr 9 2013: Comparison is good if it motivates you. Like "If he can, so can I". But one needs to step back and ask if they really want the same for themselves, and that just takes plain maturity and level headedness.
  • Apr 3 2013: I doubt that scaling was truly the most significant problem in the situation with the child from India mentioned. Perhaps scaling should not be given the wieght and obsessive importance it has, especially not on such a level that parents are prone to use in relation to grades. A rating system in itself, however, is designed as a tool for developement not impedement and has proven a useful one. A tool can be used for good or bad, problems from it come from misguided perspectives and philosophies attributed to the meaning this tool gives.
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    Apr 7 2013: i think we should not ourselves with fellow buddies,GOD has everything to us &every citizen on earth has his own potential &we should make best out of it...
  • Apr 3 2013: Maybe we cant help but compare ourselves with others to a certain extent.
    As much as we admire the good things in other people, we should be aware of our peculiarities; the things that make us different from other people, which are advantages that are exclusive to us.
    If we have children we should affirm them and make them aware of their uniqueness.
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    Apr 3 2013: Comparing is done all of the time. Some subtle and some not so subtle. Grades themself is a comparison of top to bottom .. best to worse, the school you go to, the degree you achieve, the job you get, the cloths you wear, the watch you select, the neighborhood you can afford, the car you drive, etc ...

    In the past religion, race, gender, heritage, clubs were determining factoers in your success in life.

    Perhaps what you refer to a some of both scaling and a form of bullying / taunting.

    Teachers, parents, and students are all to blame. Have you seen the bumper stickers that say my kids is a honor student ... or my son can kick your honors students ass ... even vanity license plates can tick me off. Some kids have "special" time with a special education teacher and are let out of their class to attend .. how this occurs could "mark the student for life" in his neighborhood. When the teacher asks for class responses how she accepts or denies the response is important. Recognition is important but not at the expense of "excluding" all the rest ... the halo or pedestal for achievers cause seperation and resent.

    Parents comments, attitudes, and biases are very influential. At the lower grades kids all like each other and accept that Jonny is faster, Jane is taller, etc ... but as time goes on they begin to group ... cliques are formed ... acceptance and rejections occur.

    The question is ...Is it good or bad. Probally both. Those who pose a threat to society should be isolated, etc ... However, IMO ... the most important thing is how the individual can learn and grow ... or if the result is devistating and cause physical and mental harm.

    It is also important to understand limitations and expectations ... be realistic. When the ego gets crushed the road back may be long and hard.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • Apr 3 2013: If you are talking about children age is a key issue, for teenagers and above, I think that depends on who is listening... A constrictive critique is not made by the mouth that speaks but by the ears that listen. Even the most ruthless remark can be constructive if the listener wants, just as the most friendly advise can be destructive if the listener wants. Education to properly handle comparison is required in both home and school.
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    Apr 3 2013: .
    .
    My answer:

    (1) It is bad if
    . . .it is hostile comparison (competition) for ego-biosis,
    . . .which causes all kinds of “invalid” happiness,
    . . .including inequality, crimes, evils, wars,
    . . . .... unsustainable ecology, .... humankind self-extinction.

    (2) It is good if
    . . .it is friendly comparison (competition) for symbiosis,
    . . .which causes all kinds of “valid” happiness,
    . . .making every person happy
    . . .without inequality, crimes, evils, wars,
    . . . .... unsustainable ecology, .... humankind self-extinction.

    .
    (For details, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 14, at
    https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)
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    Apr 2 2013: Imagine comparing yourself to a hobo. That would be a big injustice! In a similar way, comparisons should only be made between people who have the same lot in life. In that way, the comparisons serve as a morale booster or progress checker.
  • Apr 2 2013: How can we not compare people? How can we exploit our strengths without knowing them?