"Stay on the path. It's not your concern. Stay on the path." - Denzel Washington as Eli in The Book of Eli
In the movie The Book of Eli, the main character admonishes himself to stay on the path when he encounters highwaymen attacking a couple. As the movie progresses, we learn that Eli only fights those who refuse to stay out of his way and leave him alone. He was on a mission and he wouldn't let anyone waylay him or keep him from his path.
As I discussed that scene with some friends, I began to think about how often we grow concerned with the paths others are on, rather than focusing on our own path. We see the neighbors drive home in a new car and we go car shopping. We look at a model in a bikini and we weigh ourselves. We see a parent struggle with a screaming child in the store and we pat ourselves on the back that our kids are not like theirs.
We constantly compare ourselves to others and either find ourselves lacking or decide we are better than others. Neither viewpoint is realistic or healthy.
Bob, a psychologist and friend, said he often encounters this kind of thinking in his practice. An alcoholic will admit he has been drinking, but, "not as much as Joe." As Bob says, how much Joe is drinking doesn't affect your liver.
Rather than focusing on the fact that someone else is prettier or smarter or more popular or richer or thinner than me, I need to focus on me. What should I be doing to make sure I'm healthy, happy, and in right relationship with my friends and family? Is what I need to do different from what you need to do? Sure it is, but I need to focus on myself and stay on the path.