As I was packing some sliced apples in school lunches I was contemplating the cliché about comparing apples-to-apples. We use this cliché when things are similar, or at least in the same category. If things are dissimilar or in different categories we might say we’re comparing apples-to-oranges.
If your life was in the “apple” category, to what other “apple” would you compare? Interesting question!
You are a unique individual. God has not made — ever — anyone like you, nor will He ever — in all of the future — make another “apple” like you. You are a one-of-a-kind, completely distinct from the 6.7 billion humans on Earth right now. No one who has ever lived or ever will live is an “apple” like you.
So comparing yourself to anyone else is always an apples-to-oranges comparison.
Again I ask you to consider: to what other “apple” would you compare?
I believe the only other apple to which you can honestly and realistically compare yourself is… you! You can only compare yourself to the God-given potential in you. You are your own apple-to-apple comparison because no one else is in your category. God doesn’t expect you to be an Albert Einstein or a Winston Churchill or a Madam Curie — He just expects you to be you. To be the best you He created you to be.
Earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (1 Corinthians 12:31, Amplified Bible).
And when you expect nothing less than your very best from yourself, you will help bring out the very best in others too. If your apples-to-apples comparison is just a you-to-you comparison, it relieves the pressure from others to compare their apple to your orange.
Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out (1 Thessalonians 5:15, The Message).
Check out these great quotes about doing your personal-apple-best —
- “Doing your best is more important than being the best.” — John Wooden
- “It was ever Alexander [The Great]’s nature, if he had no rival, to strive to better his best.” — Arrian
- “From day to day I do the best I can and will continue to do so till the end.” — Abraham Lincoln
- “One of satan’s wiliest tricks is to destroy the best by the good.” — E.M. Bounds
- “To find the best in others, and to give of oneself; to leave the world a better place whether by a healthy child, a redeemed social condition, or a garden patch; to have lived your life with enthusiasm and to have sung with exaltation; and finally to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have been successful.” — Emerson
Do your personal-apple-best today, and stop comparing yourself to another’s orange. When you can do this you will find it easier to encourage others to do their personal-apple-best too.