With the Open season upon us, it has brought out the inner competitor in many people who normally may not consider themselves to be competitive. While this can be a great thing, this can also lead down a dark path.
When we start to compare ourselves to others (not just Games athletes, but people from other gyms and even people who may be training next to you), our ego starts to get involved. We want to do better, we want to prove ourselves and we want to feel better about ourselves. These factors can be motivating, but many times it will lead to the opposite. When you start to get wrapped up in how you compare to others, you lose the excitement when you improve if it’s not where you think it “should” be. Why do you think it “should” be at a certain point when in reality, even the smallest improvement is a victory? Sometimes doing less but with better form or efficiency is something to be celebrated more than an improved weight or time.When you are trying to simply beat so-and-so, you don’t care as much about the big picture of training.
If the only way you can feel good about yourself is by beating others, you can lose sight of your true potential. You could either be shorting yourself and not pushing as hard as you really could, or you may be pushing yourself TOO hard (going too heavy, poor form, doing more than your body can properly recover from, beating your body up over and over) which can lead to burnout, injuries and loss of intrinsic motivation.
We need to remember to stay focused on ourselves. The person you may be comparing yourself to has different genetics, eats differently, recovers differently, has different stress in their life, etc.. In other words, THEY ARE NOT YOU, YOU ARE NOT THEM and you will never be the same as them, no matter how hard you try. The only person you can compare to and truly know if you are improving or not… is yourself.
No matter what the case, staying focused on yourself will lead to better things. It is you versus you in the end.