What does it mean to ‘improve’ if all we do is take the new baseline as just that — a baseline? Everything relative to that baseline would be relatively the same.

”Improvement in my life — should I not desire it or should I not be in need of improvement? I really want to improve. But it’s precisely because I yearn for it that I’m afraid of remedies that are worse than the disease.” (Van Gogh, 1879)

Table Selection

From Table Selection by Nat Eliason

In poker, there’s an important concept called “table selection.” Your success is not just determined by how good you are but also by the table you choose to play at.

You can’t win as much money if you sit at a table with small blinds. You’ll get cleaned out if you sit at a table with players much better than you. To have the best result, you need to find a table where the stakes are high enough to be worth playing and where you have a chance of winning against the other players.

The “keeping up with the Joneses” effect is a symptom of table selection. If you compare yourself to your neighbors or people who are “near” you in whatever you index your life on, you will find countless ways to make yourself feel insignificant or behind.