Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Gloria - Barrington, Illinois
Entered on May 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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In a world of competition, it doesn’t matter how great you are at something compared to others; even if you are known as the smartest student in your high school, ranking first in your class, there’s always going to be another person you perceive to be smarter once you leave high school behind you. In the end, what ultimately matters is how much happiness you find in doing something without constantly comparing yourself with the person sitting next to you. I learned this only recently.

Ever since I was in kindergarten, I started to play the cello. I had a close friend at school, named Gina, who was also beginning the cello, and we had lessons together. She and I began cello at the same basic level; we were both clumsy with our bows, and we both had difficulty vibrating our strings. We received a series of music books called Suzuki, which became more challenging with every book level you advanced. We began with Suzuki 1, but by the time I had almost reached the end of it, I was diagnosed with a kidney disease and had to go to the hospital for medical assistance.

For two entire years, I never touched my cello. However, after I had recuperated from my health problems, I was on my way to finishing Suzuki 1. When I went to the following cello lesson, I discovered with extreme dismay that Gina was already in the middle of Suzuki 4. I jealously watched her play as she moved her bow gracefully. She was already on her way on becoming a professional cellist.

Then I looked at my cello, the Suzuki I, and my inexperienced self. I knew that I was far behind and that I would never catch up to her skill level. What was the point of continuing, I thought, if there was somebody else who was already better at it than you are? Comparing myself to Gina constantly discouraged me, and once I reached junior high, I quit cello altogether and started to devote my time into singing. I packed up my cello and stored it away into my closet; I would not touch it for the next four years.

As a current junior in high school, I am rarely walking through the music hallway unless I have a voice lesson. About five weeks ago, I was waiting for my voice teacher when I heard someone play the cello in a nearby room. The door was open, and the music that was flowing out of the room was beautiful. I started to wonder why I ever quit. At that moment, I didn’t care anymore that Gina was in symphony orchestra. It didn’t matter to me how great she was at it. I went home and searched for my cello in my closet. I blew some of the dust off the instrument and took out Suzuki 1 from my shelf. I placed my bow on the D string and began to play.