Comparison: The game you didn’t know you are playing and wish you weren’t

Let’s talk about the worst game ever. I’m not talking about Star Trek themed board games… but they are right up there. I mean a game that we all play called the “If Only” game. The rules are simple: compare yourself to people until you feel inadequate. To play you say things to yourself like, “If only I was as rich as Beyonce. If only I was hilarious like Jimmy Kimmel. If only I had a body like Barack Obama,” and so on. The game never really ends, but when you are convinced that your life is unsatisfying, then I guess you win. It’s a stink game because when you win you still feel like a loser (just like Star Trek themed Risk).

This is why the If Only game sucks: because comparing yourself to people is always a losing game. You either feel bad about yourself because someone else is better, or you feel good about yourself because you perceive someone else to be worse than you. You’re either happy that your friend failed an exam or you feel horrible about yourself when your mate gets in a relationship. They are both stink ways of thinking about yourself and others.

So here are 5 ways on how you can avoid playing this stupid “if only” game at all.

  1. Compare yourself with yourself.
  2. Focus on your strengths
  3. Accept what you can’t change
  4. Go on a social media diet
  5. Have an attitude of gratitude.

It’s a competitive world out there and we have been set up to compare ourselves to people ever since we were little kids, competing for ‘who could sit up the straightest’. But as you grow older you need to be reminded that ultimately, who are you becoming is more important than what you are achieving.


This article was brought to you by Attitude NZ. CHRISTIAN GALLEN is an Attitude presenter, who wrote this guest piece for TEARAWAY. Attitude is a health education provider which was was founded in 1996, and is dedicated to building resilient young people and reinforcing the positive messages they already hear from their parents, teachers and community.

Find out more about Attitude here.