Give Me the Simple Life: Compare & Despair


I read a study that determined no matter how much money a person makes, he or she will tend to be dissatisfied with income . . . if his or her neighbor is making more.

The author said the comparing mind is an impediment to happiness because there will always be someone who is richer, smarter, or better looking.

For example, the author pointed to professional athletes who complain bitterly about annual salaries in the millions.

Also known as . . . “Compare and Despair.”

Or, to quote far more ancient wisdom than mine,

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or wife or servants, or ox and donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor (Exodus 20:17, NIV).”

Statistically, the Amish seem to have greater happiness and satisfaction in their lives than those in mainstream America. Lower rates of depression, lower rates of suicide.

There must be a correlation between the comparing mind (which the Amish eschew) and a sense of happiness and well-being.


So how do you quiet the comparing mind . . . without ‘going Amish’? Share in the comment section for a chance to win a copy of Amish Values for Your Family. Winner will be announced next Tuesday.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Amy says:

    That’s a tough one. As you said… we are all prone to be discontent. My idea is that we fill our minds with the Word of God, especially the verses that talk about contentment. God is the only one who can fill our emptiness. More definitely doesn’t make us happier.
    Would love to win 🙂

  2. Pat Thompson says:

    After reading these Amish proverbs, I was wondering how to get them. I would love to get this book. Thank you for your time introducing us to opportunities and sayings.

  3. Faith Posten says:

    I think of what the Apostle Paul to his beloved son Timothy in the ministry said about contentment, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Of course, he goes on to mention that we didn’t bring anything into this life nor can we take anything material (intended meaning there) with us when we leave. That is very difficult for most all of us who aren’t Amish, I admit.

    Even though I’m now an older woman, 71, I haven’t arrived when it comes to books. LOL Other than that; I’m much more content than I used to be.

  4. Connie Saunders says:

    For many years, I was a stay-at-home wife and mother in our farm family. When I entered the public workplace and had an income of my own, I used this as a measuring stick and reasoning tool. “How many hours will I have to work to pay for this item?” It was surprising How this affected my buying habits!

  5. mbwelch says:

    I have my moments of envy, but most of the time I am happy with what we have. My husband is a great money manager, so even with living on one teacher’s income we have paid off our house and 2 1/2 acres in 14 years instead of 30. And I squeeze what we have pretty tight…it is the thrill of the hunt to find the amazing bargain (like a pendleton wool coat for $15 at the thrift shop). I also joke that God knows I would make a bad rich person, so He is keeping me humble in these circumstances!

  6. Tanya says:

    Thanks for sharing. I seem to have gone the 180. From not spending to enjoying spending…especially in this last month! I think knowing that a good deal is in front of me and that it might not come again any time soon gets me. So perhaps the fear of missing out. Or fear of spending more later traps me in a quandary. I feel discontent and forget that God will provide my needs in His time and in His way. I also justify my spending at times with “so and so has this and I will get a better deal if I purchase now.”

    So let’s say I am working on it?