Keep Your Focus on You: Comparison Is a Thief of Joy

“If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself” 

Max Ehrmann

Walking into any Muay Thai gym, it’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to those around you. 

One Nak Muay’s kick may be more powerful than yours. Perhaps, your training partner has better overall technique or more raw talent. Maybe they are younger, faster, stronger or more aggressive in their style. 

Everyone really is on their own journey. It’s a cliche, but it’s no less true for that. 

Each individual’s life is a collection of wildly disparate variables. Just as you’ll never really know where each person starts with, you don’t know what it took each to get to the point they now inhabit. 

You don’t know how much or how little they’ve trained, how clean their diet is, or how many hours they put in at the office that week. 

You may be battling injuries, illness or mental health issues. You may have a family and a couple of kids at home that is robbing you of sleep. A lot goes into making a good Muay Thai athlete. Some people are physically gifted, it’s true. Others train twice a day and don’t know what a cheat meal is. 

Luckily for you, none of this stuff is any of your business. Just as all the variables that make up your life are no one’s business but yours. 

Comparing where you are on your journey to where someone else is on theirs will leave you feeling one of two ways. Either you’ll feel smug that you’re further along than your teammate or you’ll find yourself lacking, neither of these is useful to your progress. 

There will always be someone who struggles more than you. There will always, always, always, be someone better.

Your job isn’t to compare yourself to your teammates or training partners, your job is to work on your own skills and techniques. 

Instead of looking outwards, ask yourself these questions: Are you improving? Are you faster than you were two weeks ago? Is your footwork better than it was a month ago? Are you able to land more shots when sparring? 

If you can answer yes to questions such as these, you are on the right path. Continue. 

If you answer, “No”, then it’s time to ask yourself why you aren’t improving. Do you need to make a deeper commitment to training? Eat better? Rest more? Only you are privy to all the information required to make an honest self-appraisal.

Let others navigate their own journey. Focus on being better than the you that showed up yesterday.

As is so often the case, Anonymous sums it up best:

“I am in competition with no one. I have no desire to play the game of being better than anyone. I’m simply trying to be better than the person I was yesterday.” 

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When one door closes, another opens. The journey never ends. This is the life I choose to live. This is my story.

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