You ever look at someone and think, “Now they have it together. Why can’t I be more like that?!?” Someone recently shared this with me: “Never compare your inside with someone else’s outside.” It’s credited to author Michael Palmer, and it’s brilliant.
We all do that, comparing the “me” no one but us really knows with the “them” that is on display for public consumption. It’s a losers game, for sure.
I think we all know, down deep, there is a difference between the inside and outside, but we love to hold up our own worst traits and look at them in the light of someone else’s strengths.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. Some people delight in holding their best traits (such as they are) against the weaknesses of others. That somehow makes them feel superior. That’s the subject of a different conversation, though.
I had a revelation a few years back that changed my life. I could take you to the exact square on the sidewalk in Cooperstown, New York, where it hit me. I thought, “Okay, nearly everyone who knows you sees you as an easy going, confident, happy, well-adjusted person. You’re great at appearing that way, so much so that nearly everyone is convinced you’re that way all the way through, all the way to your core.”
Then it occurred to me. If I’m not that way on the inside, I’m the only one who knows the difference. I’m the only one who suffers. If I am that way all the way to my core, I’m the only one who knows the difference. I’m the only one who benefits. No one else would ever know one way or the other.
It’s such a simple thing, but in that moment I realized I could be the guy most everyone perceived me to be. I could do it immediately, and I could do it forever. I don’t do it consistently, to be sure, but the inside and outside have been much closer since that moment, and life is much better.
So the pertinent question is, “How does your inside match your outside?” The closer the two are, the happier you’ll probably be.