I was fascinated by gymnast Victoria Komova’s obvious unhappiness with her silver medal. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone so distraught over winning an Olympic medal. Since I have the flexibility and grace of a refrigerator, I can’t imagine that it would be anything other than an honor to be in the Olympics at all.
The smart folks at NPR wondered as well, and their researchers found some interesting information. Apparently, people who win silver medals often compare themselves to the gold medal winners and see themselves as losers. On the other hand, those who win bronze medals compare themselves to those who didn’t medal at all and find themselves much happier. In fact, if you follow the Olympics as closely (some would say fanatically) as I do, you’ll have noticed that some of the most joyous faces belong to those bronze medal winners.
The lesson here is obvious. If you want to be happy, be careful with whom you compare yourself.