In today’s society, the ‘motivation’ industry has become so toxic. It preaches the idea that the only way to be free and happy is to become a millionaire. This industry frames millionaires as the only truly happy people and implicitly degrades those with low-level jobs and those who are poor. This industry creates a sense of urgency towards getting rich, making it seem like it’s a mandatory requirement for happiness. However, this approach is fundamentally flawed.
The toxic nature of this industry leads people to forget the fact that everyone is unique and capable of their own greatness. People try to become more like those they see as successful, but in doing so, they put unnecessary stress and anxiety on themselves. When they inevitably fail to meet these imposed standards, the industry provides tips and tricks to avoid such failures in the future, as if the only problem was their inability to perform. It’s like trying to make a fish climb a tree, it’s not natural and not necessary.
The root of all these issues is comparison. Self-help industries compare people and tell them that they are inferior to others and that they need to grow in a certain way. This toxic culture of comparison is not limited to the self-help industry, it permeates into many workplaces as well. Some companies push their employees beyond natural limits, imposing unrealistic deadlines and expecting everyone to perform at the same pace as their top-level employees. However, this is an unrealistic expectation as people have their own pace and style of doing things. Instead of celebrating and harnessing the uniqueness of each employee, they put them in a never-ending rat race, comparing them with the top-level employees who may have reached that level by doing things at their own pace.
Some people argue that it slows down social progress. But what is progress if not the well-being of humans? In the past 6 years, there has been a 35% increase in antidepressant usage, indicating the toxic progress we are currently riding on. It’s time to prioritize the well-being of people over economical or social progress. Such an approach will lead to sustained progress in the long term, rather than short-term progress at the expense of the mental well-being of people.
Of course, people can thrive and improve themselves, but it should be self-driven, driven by joy, love, and a desire to contribute to society, not by a sense of inferiority complex as a result of the comparison. Imagine a world where you are respected equally no matter what job you do. A world where you are not judged by who you are or your capabilities. A world where you do things to satisfy yourself, without worrying about the future or others.
The key solution to end this culture of comparison is to focus on yourself and the things that make you permanently happy. For some people, it’s making money for their freedom, okay, then do it happily. For some, it’s creating new technologies for others, okay, do it mindfully. For others, it’s planting trees or drawing arts, fine, do it at your best. The point is there is no need for comparison because there is no such thing as a healthy comparison with others. If you want to compare, compare only with who you were yesterday. By embracing our uniqueness and focusing on our own personal growth, we can break free from the toxic culture of comparison and build a world where people can live fulfilling and meaningful life.