WHY SOMETIMES YOU SHOULD COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS

Often times the folks that I will work with have endured a great deal of pain, problems or limitations for some length of time.

For some years, for others decades, and for other still these things have been present essentially their whole life.

And when a problem is unrelenting, and at times seemingly out of ones control it is understandable that any of us would begin to feel discouraged, and even hopeless. The thing is though, while this lack of hope is understandable… it is both incorrect and a self limiting belief.

Why?

Because we have excellent examples of people in the exact same circumstances, with the exact same supposed limitations… not being limited by them.

Now, it is commonly said that neither you nor I should compare ourselves to others. In general, this is probably good advice.

Especially if we are viewing this comparison from lens of self pity, resentment or envy…

However, comparing yourself to others can at times be a very important thing for any one of us to do.

Especially if we are viewing this comparison from a lens of curiosity, admiration and wonder… It is this curiosity that is so important when it comes to leaning into what any of us need to when it comes to pursuing any goal… and most especially wrangling in a chronic ache, pain or problem.

Why?

Because the only way to get out of the chronic, habitual loops that any of us may be in is to understand how others that do not have the same problems do things differently.

If you want to work your way out of a problem of any kind, you often need to focus far more on the solution than the problem itself.

See, the thing with any chronic or reoccurring musculoskeletal issue is that the problem is not typically a hardware issue, but a software one. If you have any doubts about that, consider the fact that degenerative changes seen on imaging are neither predictive or associated with any increase in pain levels or disability. If you would like a bit more information on that, simply click HERE.

In the last few decades they have actually studied what predicts all out success at just about every endeavor any of us may take on in this lifetime… be it athletics, academia, marriage, business, sales, etc… and it seems to be a growth mindset and grit.

The former points to an internal belief that ones abilities are not set in stone, and that with work they can improve over time.

The latter is simply the ability to persevere despite obstacles and distractions.

Yes… the idea of “Natural Talent” is a lie.

After all… all of us were born a helpless infant, and everyone who was or is great at something was first terrible at it.

However, in the case of those very same folks who became great in any way, shape, or form there was something that they desired to have, grasp, or master. It was because of this desire that they put one foot in front of the other and practiced as many times as it took.

Yes, there are absolutely limitations that all of us have and will face in this lifetime, and our time in this life is very much finite.

However, within this lifetime all of us have enormous potential to do just about anything that we choose to put our minds too. Or… at least, our very best at whatever that endeavor may be.

So, what it seems to come down to is this…

In this lifetime your biggest limitations are not your age, your genetics, or whatever injuries of the mind, heart or body that you may have previous had… Instead, your biggest limiting factor in attaining any goal you may have is how willing you are to humbly and unrelentingly work at it.

If age were such a limiting factor, we would not have the example of Johanna Quass, who at 95 years old still competed as a gymnast. You can view her, doing that very thing, at that very age… HERE.

Similarly, if age were such a factor in having a capable body, we would not have Jim Arrington or Ernestine Shepherd, who are both credited any being the worlds oldest male and female bodybuilders. You can view him HERE, and her HERE.

If genetics were such a factor, then we would not have Tony Melendez. He is the gentleman who became world famous after singing and playing guitar for the pope almost forty years back… despite not having any arms. You can view that very performance HERE.

For the same reasons we would also in no way have Gabe Adams, who despite being born without arms or legs, is able to not only make his own bed, dress himself and walk… but also dance. Seeing is believing for most so click HERE if you are curious.

With that, if a previous injury was always a limiting factor we would not have Greg Panora to look at. Who, despite suffering a massive stroke at the peak of his power lifting career, relearned how to use his right arm and returned not only to competing… but also broke world records in the process. You can view a local TV interview with him, HERE.

Similarly, if a previous injury were always a guaranteed limiting factor, we would not have Valentin Dukil. He is the man that broke his back in his early twenties, and despite being told he would be wheel chair bound for his life, decided to lean how to walk again. He did not stop there though, as he kept going and became a world famous performing strongman and record holder. You can view him juggling an 80kg kettlebell… HERE.

And lastly, if trauma were just a permanently debilitating thing, then I doubt we would have Alice Herz-Sommer. Among other things she was a holocaust survivor, and all I will say is that your day will be that much brighter watching her speak, interact and most especially deftly play the piano… all at 109… HERE.

It is because of all these incredible individuals that I truly do think that all of use will do well to regularly compare ourselves to others… with curiosity, admiration and wonder.

The risk of not doing this is simply too great.

If you never look up, and around at all the beautiful people around you and wonder what their experience is, why they may experience things different than you… then you may never know how much is possible.

By looking to others, and being curious about how they did what they did, despite what they had to work with… you may come to just know how much hope each and any of us truly has… but only if you are willing to stand up and put one foot in front of the other.

So, whenever you are feeling discouraged, and are having a hard time finding the motivation to keep moving yourself forward… choose to be inspired.

I hope you found the above helpful, and I hope you’re comfortable, able and well.