As an athlete, you are always looking for the next best thing. It is in your nature to compete, push yourself, and still better your skills. The drive to make your skills better than they were the day before is one of the main things that keeps us going as athletes. This motivation can come from many different places, but most of the time, motivation and inspiration comes from other people. These people could be teammates, rivals, professionals in the sport, or even great athletes that have since come and gone.
Being inspired and motivated by others to do well is one of the most incredible things about sports. It allows athletes to respect each other and lift each other within the athletic community. Only when athletes start negatively comparing themselves to one another can this motivation turn into discouragement.
To start, comparing yourself to other people in your sport is a very normal thing to do. It can help you set goals for yourself and give you something to push for. However, there are positive and negative ways to go about this. Athletes generally compare themselves to others based on either physical appearance or based on athletic performance and results.
When it comes to comparing your athletic performance and results to other people, there is a fine line between motivation and discouragement. What may start as looking to someone for inspiration can quickly turn into discouragement if the comparisons are negative. These negative thought processes are generally about what you don’t have or what you can’t do. Discouragement can cause you to lose self-confidence in your skills and abilities. It can affect your game, and it can make you lose your love for your sport.
Comparing your body to someone else’s can be very harmful to your mental state. It is easy to look at someone from the outside and think that you lack in physicality solely based on appearances. Whoever it is you comparing yourself to, take a moment to stop and think about these things. The first is that the human body is diverse and varied. Nobody looks the same or has the same genetics. Some people are born with attributes that naturally help them excel in their sports, but it doesn’t mean that if you don’t have what they have, you are less capable than they are. Everybody is different. Keep in mind that your body is unique. It is unlike anyone else’s.
Discouragement Can Cause Jealousy
Negative thought processes fuel it, jealousy can be a natural result. It can not only affect team chemistry, but it can also affect your relationships or worldview of the person that you are jealous of. Comparisons can make you want to quit. They can reduce your self-confidence and cause you to see yourself negatively. While discouraged, you stop paying attention to the positive praise about you. Instead, you are focused on someone else, and all you become concerned about is the other person. You may start to lose focus on what you’re good at and what you bring to the team.
Things To Keep In Mind
Keep in mind that if you are comparing yourself to someone else, you don’t know how long it took that person to get where they are today. Or how many years of work they have put in. You don’t know what kind of lifestyle they are living to achieve their appearance or performance. They may be eating a diet or performing a training regimen that may not be realistic for you to maintain. As an athlete, you have to focus on your own body and what it needs to excel and reach your goals.
“I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.”
If you are struggling with comparing yourself to others, firstly be assured once again that it is natural to do. It means that you pay attention to your athletic community, and you are observing others to see how you can get better. However, compare to motivate not to discourage. Change the negative talk when thinking about yourself and others. Think about the skills that you have and what you can do. Focus on you, on your personal goals and on your team’s performance and how you can play a role in helping the team succeed. An excellent quote from the late Kobe Bryant says it best, “I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” He was focused on his own goals. He wasn’t worried about trying to live up to what someone else had already done, and he was making his legacy.
Use other athletes to inspire you, not to bring you down. If you are struggling with this negative talk and discouragement, reach out to someone, whether it be a teammate, a coach, or someone you trust. Just talk to them about your struggling with and have them help you see past the discouragement. Find positive ways to be inspired. Don’t take someone else’s athletic journey as an exact step by step process to your success. Pave your way. Be inspired by others, but also remember that you can inspire others as well.