“The race is long………and in the end, it’s only with yourself”
An extract from the 1999 song “Sunscreen” voiced by Baz Luhrmann. If you haven’t heard it or don’t know of it, allow me to urge you to do a simple Youtube search. You’ll certainly appreciate the song. I promise.
That line is a particular favourite of mine because it aptly highlights something which I’ve been drawing more attention to, particularly over the last 12 months or so.
Focusing on yourself and avoiding needless and harsh comparisons.
There’s a stark difference between making comparisons with others and drawing inspiration.
Inspiration is positive. It stokes the furnace, turns the cylinders and rumbles the tummy. Inspiration is admiring the achievements of others, seeing their attributes and ultimately realising they aren’t “better” than you. That many times they just had a heart full of desire, a dedicated mind and a clear vision. Topped off with a never say die attitude.
Application is their secret – Why not use theirs to find yours?
Comparison is altogether a different beast. Comparison is derived from assuming others are better in their raw state than we are. Regular comparisons are brutal and ruthless. There’s no room for situational exceptions and actual evidence. It’s drawn from cynical eyes.
What they say they can do, they must be able to………right?
What meets our eyes must be all that’s there……….right?
This is how making continuous comparisons warps our thinking. We lose mental clarity. Where does our usual open mind go? We lose our positive suspicion – just like when someone offers you a vague description, and you ask for elaboration. We bizarrely seem to just ‘accept’ that whatever our comparative subject’s situation is portrayed as, must be all that exists.
We will never know another’s story, struggles, hardships and shortcomings. Because humans are apt at masking them.
Ask yourself: Have you ever downplayed any of your achievements? I personally have numerous times, again because I don’t like to be seen struggling. I feel somewhat undignified – or perhaps it’s a protective mechanism? Thus, achievements are shrugged off – and we’ve all done it at some point. Trying to make a thousand step journey appear as a 50 yard sprint.
Applying this to the year ahead –
Identify when you’re bringing yourself down by others’ supposed achievements, ditch the rose tinted spectacles and remember;there’s much you cannot see. So what if the beautiful girl on Instagram has washboard abs year round and bares her body in bikinis all year! You don’t know what her life is like outside of her theatre (Instagram). You’ve not seen her dedication to eating, how long she’s spent patiently chasing painfully slow fat-loss. You don’t know just how obsessed she had to be, what misery she felt when she thought she may never get there.
The same goes for the big, strong guy who deadlifts 700 lbs, squats 600 and benches 400+……….you don’t know how many years he’s spent searching, programming and researching and seeking out ways to progress his lifting. How many avenues he’s trod, how many experts he’s pestered and how much self-experimentation he’s tirelessly explored. This is fact. Despite whether or not he tells you he benched 315 lbs on his first visit to the gym.
Only they really know.
One rule is unanimous however, anything worth having takes treading torrid waters.
We’ve long since established on this blog that habits are the key to long term success. I’ve yet to find a simpler means of obtaining consistent and meaningful results.
Make it a habit to start recognising when you’re comparing and make a conscious effort to transition from comparison to evaluation, from evaluation, muster up inspiration and zone in your journey.
This is something I myself have suffered with and am gently overcoming, with time.
One thing we also know for certain; that time spent looking at what others are doing from the corner of your eye, is time lost. Time you could have used to make strides on your own journey. That time cannot be retrieved.
Those who get the greatest results share one thing: their only comparisons are drawn with the last image they saw in the mirror.
Implementing this simple strategic approach to life this year will promote much better focus on your own goals and dreams. A lack of focus is nearly always the culprit for unattained targets and uncompleted missions.
You can’t change what you can’t control; you can only control your own progress.