If I measured my personal best lifts against the elite in the sport of powerlifting, I would be miserable. My achievements would seem worthless next to theirs. All the joy I derive from lifting heavy weights would be diminished.
At some point, comparison will steal your happiness if you use other people’s success or progress to evaluate your own.
Why Do It?
Comparison isn’t limited to the weight room. We do it in every facet of our lives. When I find myself tumbling down the wormhole of comparison, it takes a mental roundhouse to stop the slide. I ask myself a really simple question: How is this serving me?
I consider how I spend my mental and physical energy very carefully. There are only so many hours in the day. Your energy is your power, and you need your power to do amazing things. Like hit PRs, for example. It’s downright wasteful to use it evaluating and judging yourself against other people.
If you find yourself comparing regularly, you’re very likely feeling miserable. How can you change this pattern, celebrate your own success and centre yourself again?
A Compassionate Lens
Start here: Mentally congratulate the people around you for their success and happiness. Celebrate their accomplishments with them instead of tearing yourself down. Recognize they are fighting battles that are not spoken about.
If you find yourself judging their “highlight reel,” turn that judgement into compassion. They might need validation for reasons you will never personally experience. Jealousy and envy are heavy and exhausting. They distract you from your purpose and waste your time. Aspiration on the other hand is like energy—it can fuel you to pursue greatness.
And being happy for someone will make you happier. It’s really that simple. Cultivate an “abundance mindset”: Someone else’s success doesn’t mean you can’t succeed, too. We can all be happy, and the success of others can inspire you.
Compete Against Yourself
Your greatest competition is yourself: what you did last week and who you were last month. Turning your energy inward serves you best. You can control your effort, your habits and your thoughts. This leads to amazing results. No more time wasted on how other people are training or what they look like. Your power stays with you and helps you become the best version of yourself. Your accomplishments are more meaningful when they aren’t measured against someone else’s.
The next time you find yourself comparing and feeling increasingly terrible, just stop.
Ask yourself a question: How is this serving me? Put on the compassionate lens and remember that your success belongs to you. You don’t train to please other people—it’s you against you.