Updated: Feb 19
Often times we get caught in the trap of comparing ourselves to others. Whether it be looking on Instagram at the spectacular lives of our friends, or admiring the biceps of the local gym bro as he curls your body weight equivalent. When these moments happen it's important to recognize them, and then make a decision. At this point you have two options, choose to focus on your own race or accept that they are further on the same track as you, and ask for tips to follow along.
The mistake most people make is assuming that because someone's results are further along than their own, that they are not doing enough. That the efforts they are putting in are inadequate because others are accomplishing more. On the flip side, this can cause the judgment of others for seemingly not doing enough. For example, how often has the guy who left work as soon as 5:00 pm hit, been judged for not being a hard worker? But you must answer a few questions; What race are you running? What is your finish line? What is the track you have to follow to get to that line? Most of the time, your race will differ from most people's, even if you have a similar hobby or occupation. That guy who leaves work early? His race is to get back to his family and be present as often as possible. Work is secondary, and so, to him, there is no reason to stay late at the office. He is running his race, and he is succeeding. Going back to the Instagramming friend, maybe their goal is to travel the world, and so their track includes not going out on weekends, or eating out so that they can enjoy new locations at the end of every month. If their goal doesn't match up with your particular interests or desires, then you'll never have the motivation to catch them. Their end results might look good, but the work required likely won't be enticing for you. Those Friday nights happy hours most likely feel better to you after a long day, anyway. How about the gym bro? Maybe his race is to gain 12 lbs of lean mass by summer, to really impress the ladies. His track may include extreme macronutrient tracking and caloric surpluses that the average person would struggle to reach, in addition to hours of lifting and maintenance cycles. He may also have been on that track for years. Your race (that you just started last Tuesday) may be to lose 20 lbs so that you can see your toes again, and it's important to understand the difference.
Sure, admire their results and acknowledge their hard work, but do not mistake their race as an inditement on your lack of effort. Instead, use it to motivate yourself to run your own race. If you think they may be running a similar race to your own, then the conversation changes. In this case, be brave enough to ask for guidance and compare experiences, especially if they are further down the track than you. Having a partner or mentor in any endeavor makes the course much easier to endure. Having someone who's already made the mistakes before you, guide you, can be the difference between meeting your goals and falling just short.
So the next time you're looking at the girl next to you flash a smile at the A test grade she got back, look back at your B, think about your race and decide. Is your race to be the best student in the class? Then ask her what she does to succeed. Is your race to just passing the class to get information on social dynamics, while you work on a non-profit company to support the youth? Well then, congratulate her and then run your race.