Written by Dr. Adam Coats
In the 21st century, it’s easier than ever to constantly compare ourselves to others. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Marco Polo, TikTok and every other social media platform has us checking our phones on average of up to 80 times per day. We’re so concerned with what other people are doing, whether they are friends or our favorite athletes, that we forget to focus on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
While it’s good to look for inspiration and motivation from friends, family, celebrities, mentors, or professional athletes, it’s not good to constantly compare ourselves to others. For example, if you like following the Iron Cowboy (James Lawrence) because he completed 50 Ironman-distance triathlons in 50 states in 50 days because that gives you motivation to workout, great! But don’t get caught up in comparing yourself and feeling down on yourself because you run slower than him, haven’t ran that kind of distance yet, or aren’t a good swimmer. He trained for a decade to do what he did, whereas you may have just started training this year for triathlons. You can’t compare his years and years of training to your 3 months.
The same is true in business. If you have a mentor who’s been doing what you’re doing for 20 or 30 years, and you’ve been doing it for 2 years, you can’t compare yourself to them and expect that you can produce the same results. Of course you can ask for advice, mimic what they do or how they do it, and try to follow in their footsteps as best as you can. You should do that. That’s a great way to increase your skills and confidence. But if you attempt a task and accomplish it with a fraction of the success they have doing the same task, you shouldn’t feel down on yourself. They’re on a much higher level than you right now, and that’s okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. Keep doing your best, pushing yourself every day, and you’ll get there.
If you want to be successful in any endeavor, you have to challenge yourself consistently. If your goal is to run a 5k and you’ve never ran before, start with a quarter of a mile at a time or whatever distance is challenging to you. Don’t judge yourself on only being able to run a quarter of a mile, and most importantly, it doesn’t matter what distances other people are running or how fast they’re running. You’re challenging yourself, not anyone else.
The same is true in any area of life whether it be sports and athletics, business, personal, or spiritual. It does not matter what others are doing. It matters what you are doing and what you are trying to achieve. Push yourself every day to get better, and don’t be hard on yourself if you coast through a day here and there. Just get back on it the next day and continue to improve.
After all, what’s the point if we’re not improving on a consistent basis. None of us were created to be mediocre. All of us were created to reach our full potential. So stop focusing on others, and start focusing on you!