At one time or other most of us have measured the quality of our physique and our training performance by how they compare to those of another person. That can either propel our efforts off the charts—or bring our progress to a grinding halt.
The question is, Is that a healthy mental and emotional approach to take when you’re trying to improve?
It could be. If you use someone else’s physical development as a driving force to help you train harder and eat better, it is indeed an effective, empowering approach. That’s pretty obvious. On the other hand, if seeing another person’s achievements in the gym discourages you, then you might really have some challenges. Frustration can overwhelm you, and the desire to quit trying so hard could gradually take over your mind-set. You’ll never live up to your true potential with this crippled mentality.
Many people make the mistake of discounting the amount of effort more successful people have invested in their training and following a healthy lifestyle. That’s very easy to do—and it’s somewhat of a delusional path of least resistance. You’ll have an extremely difficult time becoming the best you can be when taking that route.
The challenges don’t stop there. If comparing yourself to less-accomplished individuals makes you complacent, you’ll subconsciously stop striving to reach for higher goals. You’ll fall short of what you’re truly capable of achieving. You may start settling for less after reaching a certain level just because it’s better than what most people around you are accomplishing.
If you do feel using comparisons is helpful, be careful not to be too easy on yourself. Sure, you might be doing better than others, but you won’t be fulfilled until you feel you’re honestly living up to your own true potential.
The choice is yours regarding what other people’s achievement means to you. A person who inspires some people can discourage others. Often we’re not conscious of the effect other people have on our own efforts until a much later time. There’s a fine line between holding yourself to high enough standards to make the most out of your abilities and being so tough on yourself that you suffer a mental meltdown.
Many people have accomplished a great deal with their bodies. They look great. The only problem is that they fail to realize what they’ve done. You’re not always being fair to yourself when comparing yourself to others. Everyone is blessed and cursed with different genetic and lifestyle factors. In every area of your life that works both for you and against you. It will never work only in your favor unless you have a superior mind-set.
You don’t have to feel guilty just because you have more advantages than some other people. It’s also nothing to get too excited about because some people will always be more gifted than you. The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be. Only then will you stop using such comparisons and instead just get to work on becoming the very best version of you that’s humanly possible.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with looking to other people as sources of inspiration when setting ambitious goals, but you must honestly assess where you are now compared to where you’d like to eventually be. More important, you must take the time to reflect upon and appreciate how far you’ve come. The chances are great that you’re doing a lot better than you realize.
The truth of the matter, however, is that your success is never defined by how you measure up against others. The battle to become the best you can be is fought internally, with yourself, not externally, with comparisons to others.
You must strive to become the best version of you compared to you. Success is determined by the gap you create from where you began to where you are today. Start judging your success by the size of that gap. Those who create the largest gap between where they started and where they are now with their bodybuilding and training efforts are truly the most successful.
Train hard—and think big! You are a Mass Machine warrior!
Editor’s note: Skip La Cour is a six-time national champion bodybuilder, a success and leadership coach and the creator of the Mass Machine Bodybuilding and Training Program. Learn how you can become a Mass Machine warrior by visiting www.SkipLaCour.com. Sign up for the free weekly e-newsletter—and you’ll receive a free e-book.