It’s Monday morning 5am and I look around the rest of the gym, people are hitting PR’s left and right, grinding through lifts and working their asses off. That’s when it happens. Just like that. It starts as a small whisper at first. Creeping through the stillness of my mind like a fall breeze through hardwood trees. That faint and familiar voice saying “You should be lifting more. You should be going faster, harder. Look at them-look how much more they are doing. How long have you been doing this? Maybe you should be doing something else.”
Comparison. It’s not fancy but it sure is effective. It will snatch all the hard work and progress you have made away in an instant. Comparison will turn good days into bad, and achievements into disappointments. Comparison. It happens to us all.
Just keep showing up. It’s the reason I graduated college. When inside your social circle you feel like you are surrounded by incredibly intelligent and motivated high achievers. But it is being in that environment and surrounded by those people that will make you even better and stronger than you were before. No one ever got better at anything sitting home alone watching Netflix (I have tried more than once, trust me it does not work). It can be incredibly easy to lose focus of your goals when you start comparing yourself to others. It’s easy to forget that the person you’re competing against is not everyone else in the room, but is the person you were when you started this journey. But if you quit, if you loose track of being better than the person you are now, it wont be long until you are back to where you were when you started (I read that on a T-shirt but its true.)
Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.”― Shannon L. Alder
It happens. Over and over and over again sometimes. Which you can use to your advantage. The more you practice getting your mind right and turning off that voice of comparison, the better you will get at it. The quicker you will be able to recognize it and cut it off at the neck. When that old familiar feeling starts to creep in and your thoughts turn to that of “she’s running faster”, or “he is doing more.” Stop and take a deep inhalation (you can right now if you want) remember that you’re much farther ahead of where you were when you started, and every day you are being given the opportunity to add a new block to the foundation. Even if it’s the smallest block there is, it counts and eventually all those small blocks will add up to big progress.
Change doesn’t always come in an instant. Sometime it doesn’t come for years. I can remember being a teenager and hearing about the Adirondack Classic 90 mile canoe race and thinking it was too long, too hard, and an event I would never be able to do. But I did. 3 years into CrossFit and a whole bunch of conversations in my head about not comparing myself to others and instead focus on my goals and where I was when I started, and I am proud to say I have not only done that 90 Mile canoe race, but I also feel very confident in my physical ability to do it again (I still need a lot of technique work but hey- one small block at a time).
Don’t get discouraged and let your thoughts turn to others. Don’t let your mind be your own worst enemy. Instead raise yourself and others up. Celebrate yours and their victories. Keep your eyes on the person in the mirror. That’s your toughest competition, and every day you can beat them.
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” – Coco Chanel