Stop Comparing and Run at Your Own Pace

“Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

— Henry David Thoreau

 

Have you participated in fund runs?

My goodness! It seems like there is a fund run every single week! Be it for the benefit of the Pasig river, for the benefit of free education, for sports, for health, for the dogs, for the forests, for the ants, for the wind, for the cockroaches, or for any other cause you can think of! If there's a cause, there's a run!

Also, there are already a lot of gimmicks! In some fund runs, zombies try to chase after runners to get their flags representing their lives. In some, runners are squirted with dyed water. Then, there are also barefoot fund runs and fund runs in high heels!

In the fund run I’m planning to organize for the benefit of dogs, I’m thinking that the runners will be chased by pit bulls. It will be called, “Run for Your Life.” Great idea, huh? Want to run in my event? Want to partner with me? But, runners will have to sign waivers.

But, why do you think people join these fund runs and marathons? Why are they so big not only here in the Philippines but also all over the world?

Is it to win? Is it to beat other runners? Is it to finish first?

No, it’s to have their picture taken near the end of the finish line where the photographers are! They feel like instant celebrities!

Just kidding. People join these events to have fun.

Some runners really do try to finish first, but more than ninety percent (I’m just guessing, okay?) of the runners who join these fund runs just want to have fun. For them, fund runs are not races. They are marathons…because they really are.

Like these fund runs, life is a marathon. To enjoy it, you have to run at your own pace. You have to compete only with yourself. It doesn't matter whether you finish first or not. What's important is that you are there. What matters is that you finish the marathon no matter how long it takes you. And while you're running, take the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking scenery around you and enjoy the sight of sweaty people having fun.

In fund runs and marathons, it’s not important to finish first. What’s important is to finish, because the photographers are usually at the finish line. If you don’t finish, you will not have your picture taken while running and giving the photographers a thumbs up.

 

Are You Ahead or Behind?

We love competing. It is human nature to compete and to compare. We like feeling better than other people. In fact, some people feel their worth when they feel they are better than someone else. I hate to admit it, but I often feel better about myself when I than I'm better off than someone my age. 

In our jobs, in our careers, in our studies, and in sports, we like to compete and to compare, especially when we're at the better end of the comparison. Being better than someone feels good! Being better than someone feels great! Feeling superior is an ecstasy!

We feel great about ourselves whenever we earn more money than other people, or whenever we have higher salaries compared to others, or whenever we hold higher positions in companies compared to people our age. We simply feel more valuable whenever we are ahead of other people.

However, when we are at the losing end of the comparison, when we are behind, it’s deflating. It's depressing. We lose our self-confidence and our self-esteem. 

It feels great when we are ahead, but it can make us proud. 

It is a humbling experience when we are behind, but it can be quite depressing, leading to further inaction. 

But, perhaps, the worst feeling is being in the middle. You do not have the drive to excel of the people ahead nor the hunger and determination of those behind.

No matter where you are in this marathon called life, there are always challenges. And depending on where you are, the challenges are different.

The only way to way to really enjoy your marathon is to appreciate where you are and respect your own pace.

 

Instead of Comparing…

It’s difficult to stop comparing, especially when you are way behind. It’s also difficult to stop comparing when you are way ahead. I know, because I experienced both.

When I still in university, I really felt great about myself because I had good grades compared to others and I was a student leader while most students did not have the opportunity.

However, when my career started on a bad note and when my first small online business got hacked, I really felt I fell way behind in my career and in business. I really felt insecure and deflated.

But, during the past few months without a business and being unemployed, I realized that I have a lot of things to be grateful for. More on this in a future post. But the bottom line is, I learned to simplify my life and appreciate what I already have. I still dream big, but not only for myself but also for other people.

There will always be people better than you at something and you will be better than other people at something as well. And there will always be people ahead of you and people behind you. That is why you are always at risk of being too proud and being insecure.

The only one solution to stop comparing is to DECIDE to stop comparing. I am not talking about DECIDING in its weak sense, but about DECIDING which needs a lot of commitment, discipline, action, and sacrifice.

I don’t know if I can stay true to this forever, but let’s DECIDE NOW to stop comparing. After all, I have my own mood swings and motivation swings.

But, whenever we feel proud of being ahead, let us just pray for those who are behind to be able to catch up and to have great lives like ours. 

Whenever we feel discouraged and insecure, let us pray for those who are ahead, for them to be blessed even more so they can bless others more. Let us pray that we, too, can get to where they are.

But, prayer is not enough. Take action.

When you’re ahead, instead of comparing, help those who are behind. When you are behind, instead of comparing and feeling insecure, have the determination to keep going and move forward towards your dreams. 

After all, you only lose when you give up. Never give up! Keep moving forward.

No matter what happens, just enjoy the marathon. You are already here on earth. You are already living your life. You might as well enjoy yourself.

Do not underestimate your ability to achieve your dreams. And do not underestimate your ability to help others achieve their dreams.