Comparative Life

By 張忠謀
Translated by David Chen, June 2005.


1 to 4 years old--- Comparing their cuteness.
5 to 7 years old--- Comparing their artistic talents.
8 to 12 years old---Comparing their grades.
13 to15 years old--- Comparing their coolness.
16 to 18 years old---Comparing their stylishness.
19 to 22 years old--- Comparing the beauty of their girlfriends.
23 to 24 years old--- Comparing the size of their muscles.
25 years old---Comparing the length of their resumes.
26 to 27 years old---Comparing the stereo in their fancy cars.
28 to 32 years old---Comparing the obedience of their spouses.
33 to 35 years old---Comparing the talents of their kids.
35 to 40 years old---Comparing the success of their careers.
41 to 50 years old---Comparing the size of their houses.
51 to 55 years old---Comparing the amount of their investments.
56 to 60 years old---Comparing the patience of their daughter-in-laws.
0 to 65 years old---Comparing their own social status and influence.
66 to 70 years old---Comparing the smartness of their grandchildren.
70 to 75 years old---Comparing the numbers on their high-blood pressure tester.
75 years olds and beyond---Comparing the authority of their seniority.
Are you comparing your life with others like the examples above?

We are all living in a society of packaging and brand names.
We canít help to covet the fancy outfits of others,
but place the blame on our own shortcomings.

As I grow more mature, I start to realize that nobodyís life is perfect.
Everybody has something missing in his or her life.

Many people with beauty and talent have fooled themselves in the game of romance.
Some loving couples with fat salaries but not able to have their own child,
while others have children stealing their fortune.
Some have made a great fortune but have no worthy child to inherit it.
Some have inherited a big fortune but have no wisdom to manage it.

Everyoneís life cycle has a missing piece. Often it is not up to us to decide which piece is missing.

I used to hate the missing pieces in my life, but now I can accept them with an open heart.
Because those missing pieces are constantly reminding me to be humble and passionate.
If we donít come to realize our imperfections, then
weíll never learn to care about others.
Iíve come to realize that our lives shouldnít be perfect,
because those missing pieces in our lives might be the ones for others.
If we can all recognize that no one can own everything, and no one has a perfect life circle, then,
we will not be comparing ourselves with others and chasing those meaningless materialism, but
be thankful for all we have.
Do not covet what others have, but appreciate what we have now.
You will realize what you have is much more than what you donít.
Those missing pieces donít make your life perfect, but they are part of our lives.